Jury urges death in Ala. bridge killings
MOBILE, Ala. - A jobless shrimper who killed four young children by casting them from the top of an 80-foot-high Alabama bridge was sentenced to death by a jury yesterday in a crime witnesses said followed an argument with the mother.
The jury deliberated for about an hour before recommending that Lam Luong be executed. He was convicted Thursday of capital murder, which is the only charge in Alabama in which a death sentence is possible.
Circuit Judge Charles Graddick, who presided over the weeklong trial, was not bound by the jury's decision. The court said a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 30.
Luong's defense urged the jury to be merciful on the 38-year-old Vietnamese refugee, contending he had a mental breakdown and snapped before the killings. But prosecutors said Luong deserved to be executed for dropping the children - ages 3 years to 4 months - from the top of the bridge after arguing with his common-law wife, Kieu Phan, 23.
Luong fathered three of the victims - Hannah Luong, 2; Lindsey Luong, 1; and Danny Luong, 4 months - and one, Ryan Phan, 3, was Phan's child with another man.