|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF1842
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER FUGITIVE FEATURED ON “AMERICA’S MOST WANTED” FACES TRIAL FOR 2005 SHOOTING-MURDER OF MAN OUTSIDE STANTON BAR
SANTA ANA – A former fugitive featured on “America’s Most Wanted” faces trial tomorrow for murdering a man in 2005 by shooting him several times outside of a bar after attacking him with a belt. Cuong Viet Nguyen, 29, formerly of Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. The defendant has a prior strike conviction from 1998 for robbery. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 144 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On June 26, 2005, Nguyen is accused of going with a group of friends to All Star Bar in Stanton. The defendant and his friends are accused of getting into a fight inside the bar with another group of men, including victim Tri Van Bui. The bouncers instructed Bui’s group to leave the bar.
Nguyen and an unknown friend are accused of waiting outside of the bar for Bui. After the victim had finished speaking with a bouncer, the defendant and his friend are accused of chasing and catching the victim, removing their belts and repeatedly hitting him, and using the buckle to hit Bui in the head. When Bui was on the ground, Nguyen is accused of pulling out a firearm and murdering the victim by shooting him six times. Nguyen is accused of also shooting another victim, Michael Le, in the arm.
Nguyen is accused of fleeing the scene. A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2006. In the spring of 2008, the defendant was featured on the television program “America’s Most Wanted.” A tip received from a viewer who recognized Nguyen from the show led investigators to Phoenix, where Nguyen was located and arrested in June 2008. The defendant was brought back to Orange County from Arizona on June 18, 2008, to face charges.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.