An Orleans Parish judge handed a mandatory life prison term Monday to a man accused of plotting a hit job in 2013 on his then-girlfriend’s husband.
A jury in October convicted Khoi Hoang of obstruction of justice, though it deadlocked on murder, conspiracy and solicitation charges in the execution-style killing of Lien Nguyen in New Orleans East.
The obstruction charge, in a murder case, carries a maximum 40-year prison term. But based on Hoang’s prior felony convictions, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office filed a “multiple bill” that increased his sentence to life under the state’s habitual-offender law.
Hoang was deemed a triple offender based on his guilty pleas in 2009 to counts of simple burglary and cocaine and Ecstasy possession, along with stolen-vehicle and cocaine-possession counts from 1995, court records show.
Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras announced the sentence Monday morning. Hoang still faces a possible retrial on the murder counts.
Hoang was accused, along with Charity Nguyen, of killing Nguyen’s husband, a 40-year-old Kenner store owner, in April 2013. A witness found Lien Nguyen dying in a pool of blood in a remote wooded area in New Orleans East after he’d earlier been tied up and stuffed in the back of a vehicle, prosecutors said.
Video evidence and witness testimony at Hoang’s trial suggested that an unidentified black man had pulled the trigger, but authorities accused Hoang and Charity Nguyen of setting up the killing together, seeking to dispose of Lien Nguyen so they could start a life together.
A witness who came across the dying Lien Nguyen, shot in the face and back, called 911 and told authorities that Nguyen repeated “wife” through his gurgling last breaths when asked who had shot him.
Charity Nguyen, 39, still faces a murder charge and other counts. She was due to stand trial with Hoang before she laid the blame on her co-defendant, in the latest of several shifting stories.
She claimed on the witness stand that Hoang had told her by phone that he planned to kill Lien Nguyen, then said in a later call that he had “finished” her husband.
She also testified that her husband and the father of their three children physically and mentally tortured her and that her later sexual relationship with Hoang was carried on under threat.
Charity Nguyen is scheduled for trial Aug. 8 on counts of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction. She remains free on bail.
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