Today, we can all say we learned that attacking your co-workers with a meat cleaver could land you in prison for a very long time.
For Qui Tu Truong, a former employee of a Phoenix market, that means consecutive prison sentences of 21 years and 15 years.
Truong pleaded guilty last month to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault, related to the March 2011 meat cleaver episode, which was sparked by Truong being fired from the market.
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Truong broke into the house of a female ex-colleague near 68th Avenue and Indian School Road, and went after the woman and her nephew with the meat cleaver.
Police said Truong had threatened the woman in the past for talking about him at work. Truong had previously said he'd kill the woman if she didn't stop talking about him, according to the documents.
The woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and remained unconscious for days after the attack.
Although Truong blamed the woman for getting him fired, he was reportedly canned for not showing up to work.
Truong ran away from the scene after the attack, but was caught by the cops shortly after that -- with fresh blood on his shoes, according to court documents.
Truong -- who was in the country on a permanent resident status -- was initially charged with two counts of attempted murder, but his guilty plea landed him just one attempted-murder charge, in addition to aggravated assault.
The attempted-murder charge landed Truong the 21-year sentence, while the aggravated assault earned him 15 years. Again, those sentences are running consecutively, not concurrently, according to a court spokeswoman.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says in a statement that this was the maximum allowable sentence for the crimes, and Truong will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent of his sentence.
Montgomery's statement also calls for tougher penalties, and offers a more graphic account of events:
"Although this defendant received the maximum allowable sentence for the crimes he was convicted of, it pales in comparison to the unthinkable physical suffering and emotional anguish he caused two innocent victims," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. "This case highlights a troubling disconnect between the degree of harm caused and the punishment that can be imposed. I look forward to reviewing this issue with legislators in the upcoming legislative session," he added.
On the afternoon of March 12, 2011 Yen Ha, age 54, and her surrogate nephew, 19 year-old Trong Nguyen, came home together to eat lunch on a scheduled break from work at Lam's Seafood Market. As they were preparing their meal, Qui Tu Truong, a former co-worker, entered the small residence uninvited and proceeded to viscously [sic] attack both of them with a meat cleaver. As Trong Nguyen lay bleeding on the floor with a serious head wound, he saw Truong repeatedly hacking Yen Ha's head and body with the meat cleaver. Nguyen was able to stand up and run to the front door, prompting the defendant to chase after him. Despite sustaining additional injuries to his arms and hands as Truong continued to strike him with the meat cleaver, Nguyen escaped and began screaming for help.
Truong dropped the bloody meat cleaver and fled the scene in his parents' minivan. Several neighbors and bystanders quickly entered Yen Ha's apartment and tended to her until paramedics arrived at the scene. Truong was apprehended a few hours later, after cleaning himself up, disposing his bloody clothes and attempting to flee from arresting officers. Investigators later learned that he had deliberately planned the attack after a long running work-related dispute with Yen Ha.
James King contributed to this post.
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