|For Immediate Release
Case #09WF0269 July 29, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF PARTYGOER CELEBRATING VIETNAMESE LUNAR NEW YEAR AFTER LEAVING A GARDEN GROVE RESTAURANT
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for the shooting-murder of a partygoer leaving a Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration at a Garden Grove Restaurant. Thanh Van Tran, 29, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury June 9, 2011, of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
Co-defendant Loi Van Nguyen, 32, Garden Grove, pleaded guilty June 21, 2011, to one misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact and was sentenced to one year of probation. He testified in the trial.
Late in the evening of Jan. 24, 2009, Tran attended a Vietnamese Lunar New Year party with co-defendant Nguyen at D Saigon, a restaurant in Garden Grove. Upon leaving the party, Nugyen is accused of engaging in an argument outside the restaurant with another man who had also been at the New Year’s celebration. The man’s brother-in-law, 40-year-old Tommy Ngoc Ta, witnessed the altercation and tried to push Nguyen off his relative.
Tran retrieved a firearm from a car, approached Ta, and fired three shots, hitting the victim in his left and right arm and once in the chest. Tran fled the scene with Nguyen and witnesses called 911.
Ta was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later. The victim was a married father of three.
Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) officers responded to the scene and investigated the case. A day later, Nguyen is accused of contacting police to turn himself in. Upon further investigation by GGPD, Tran was linked to the crime and arrested Jan. 25, 2009.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.