PAROLE DENIED FOR INMATE WHO MURDERED MAN AND ATTEMPTED TO MURDER TWO OTHERS AT MILE SQUARE PARK


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release







March 22, 2012

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

PAROLE DENIED FOR INMATE WHO MURDERED MAN AND ATTEMPTED TO MURDER TWO OTHERS

AT MILE SQUARE PARK

 

SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied the parole yesterday for an inmate convicted of murdering an unarmed man and attempting to murder two others at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Phong Paul Chuchang Phan, 40, Santa Ana, is currently being held at California Institute for Men in Chino, CA. Phan was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of first degree murder, two felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, and sentencing enhancements for being armed with a firearm and the personal use of a firearm. He was sentenced Dec. 17, 1992, to 26 years to life in state prison.

 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Odwald, who originally prosecuted the case, appeared at the hearing to oppose Phan’s parole. Phan will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2015.

 

Murder of Hoa Le

On Sept. 8, 1990, Hoa Le, Lee Phung, and two other friends were at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley taking photographs. Inmate Phan and four co-defendants, including Hao Day Thai and Hoang Xuan Nguyen, drove to the park to confront Thai’s neighbor, Phung. Thai was upset because he believed Phung had recently called the police on Thai’s wife.

 

Once at the park, Thai engaged Phung in a verbal argument and then shouted, “Just shoot and kill them all.” Phan aimed his gun at Phung’s head and pulled the trigger, but it failed to fire. The four victims began to run away while the defendants shot at them. Phung was shot in the back by Nguyen. Another victim scaled a wall into the yard of a house as the defendants shot at him, but he was uninjured. Le was shot in the left leg and fell to the ground. Nguyen then ran up to him and shot Le in the head, murdering him. The defendants got back into their cars and fled the scene.

 

Commercial Burglary

The shooting and murder of Le did not discourage Phan from continuing his criminal activity. He was arrested 19 months later with six other co-defendants for a commercial burglary at a Chino 7-Eleven store. Phan provided the police with a fake name. After being booked into jail, a fingerprint check verified that he was a fugitive in the murder case. He was transported to Orange County to face trial and was subsequently convicted by a jury.

 

Lack of Responsibility and Remorse

Phan has admitted on various occasions to being at the park with his co-defendants on the day of the murder but has repeatedly denied possessing a firearm until recently in 2008 before his initial parole hearing. He stated he removed the bullets before pointing the gun at Phung’s head. He also denied that the other four co-defendants had any firearms. He has repeatedly claimed that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.