Man sentenced in meat cleaver attack

Posted: Updated:
Qui Tu Truong was sentenced in a meat cleaver attack. By Jennifer Thomas Qui Tu Truong was sentenced in a meat cleaver attack. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A man convicted in a brutal attack with a meat cleaver was sentenced Friday.

A superior court judge sentenced 28 year old Qui Tu Truong to 36 years in prison for attempted murder and aggravated assault.

"Although this defendant received the maximum allowable sentence for the crimes he was convicted of, it pales in comparison to the unthinkable physical suffering and emotional anguish he caused two innocent victims," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.   "This case highlights a troubling disconnect between the degree of harm caused and the punishment that can be imposed.”

On March 12, 2011, Truong entered the home of 54 year old Yen Ha, and her surrogate nephew, 19 year-old Trong Nguyen, both former co-workers of Truong. Police say Truong viciously attacked the pair with a meat cleaver.  The assault left both victims with severe injuries.

Truong fled the scene in his parents' minivan.  He was arrested several hours later, after he had cleaned himself up and disposed of his bloody clothes. Investigators later learned that he had deliberately planned the attack after a long running work-related dispute with Yen Ha.

Last month Truong pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault and agreed to serve the maximum prison term allowable under the law: 21 years for the attempted murder plus 15 years for the aggravated assault.

As for the victims, Yen Ha remains in a permanent vegetative state as a result of severe head trauma, which required portions of her brain to be removed.  Her prognosis for recovery is very poor.  Trong Nguyen continues to suffer from serious injuries caused by approximately eight hatchet wounds to his head, arms and hands.

"While modern medical science allowed these victims to survive this savage assault, they remain permanently disabled with a greatly diminished quality of life,” said County Attorney Montgomery.

This attack was so brutal, it prompted a call for stricter sentences for violent crimes that cause serious or life-altering injuries.  Under Arizona's sentencing statutes for dangerous felony offenses, Truong will be eligible for release after serving 85% of his sentence with credit for time served.