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Wife killer sent to prison for 5 years to life

Their 6-year-old son watched the fatal stabbing

A man who stabbed his wife to death during a quarrel, while their 6-year-old son looked on, will spend 5 years to life behind bars.

Kiet Nguyen, 34, asked the judge through a Vietnamese-speaking interpreter to "give me another chance to get out" so Nguyen could care for his mother and his children.

Nguyen said he had grown up without a father and wanted to be released to care for his children.

However, 3rd District Judge J. Dennis Frederick noted at Friday's hearing that a jury had earlier found Nguyen guilty of criminal homicide.

Prosecutor Paul Parker also argued that given the nature of the offense, there was no choice except to ask for the maximum sentence. Defense attorney Steven Shapiro argued that Nguyen had not denied his involvement in the death, nor had he denied responsibility for it. "I think Kiet is very remorseful for causing the death," Shapiro said.

Frederick said he felt compelled to impose the sentence he did. "This is a tragic circumstance for everyone, most particularly your wife (who you) killed," the judge said. "Society demands recompense for that and prison is the only alternative."

Frederick also ordered Nguyen to pay restitution including burial expenses for the victim.

Police reports said Nguyen and his wife, My Dung Thi Ly, were arguing in their Salt Lake apartment on June 11, 2000, when his wife told him to leave. Upset, Nguyen grabbed a knife and stabbed her. An autopsy showed she died from a forceful knife wound to the chest and suffered two other stab wounds, according to police.

Meanwhile, the couple's son ran to a neighbor and said his father had just killed his mother, the police report said. Police found the wife dead on the landing in front of the apartment, the report said.


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com