Crime

Supreme Court Denies Alabama Death Row Inmate's Appeal

| by Ray Brown
Lam Luong during his trial.Lam Luong during his trial.

On March 28, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to intervene in the case of an Alabama man who killed four small children by throwing them off a bridge.

Lam Luong, a Vietnamese refugee and part-time shrimp worker, was convicted in 2009 for murdering all four of his children and sentenced to death. His defense lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court for a hearing, saying their client did not get a fair trial because of the publicity surrounding his case, the Associated Press reports. But the Supreme Court denied the motion and allowed the State of Alabama carry out the death sentence.

Luong murdered his four children after an argument with his common-law wife, Kieu Phan, Fox News reported. Luong, 38 at the time of crime, put the children in a van and then threw them over a coastal bridge near Mobile, Alabama, on Jan. 7, 2008.

The oldest child, Ryan Phan, was only 3 years old at the time, and he was Kieu's son from a previous relationship. The other children were Hannah Luong, 2, Lindsey Luong, 1, and Danny Luong, 4 months.

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According to trial testimony, Lam led Kieu, 23 at the time, and police astray as to the whereabouts of the children. At first, he said he left them with a woman. But days later, after police figured out he was lying and took him into custody, Kieu told police to bring her to his cell. And that's when he confessed.

"They are all dead," Lam told Kieu, according to her testimony, Fox News reported. “No way that we can find the children."

Kieu said Lam laughed as he told her all four of her children were dead. She fell down to her knees and cried.

Months after the murder, Lam wrote a letter in Vietnamese to Judge Charles Graddick, confessing to the murder and asking to be put to death, AL.com noted. But shortly after, he recanted the confession and his case went to trial.

Lam was convicted of four counts of capital murder and sentenced to death. But in 2013, the conviction and death sentence were overturned by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals because Graddick denied a defense motion to move the trial to another county because of publicity. The appeals court also faulted Graddick for refusing to allow funds to be spent on travel to Vietnam to investigate Lam's childhood and not providing for a state-approved translator.

Lam was eventually convicted again in 2014.

Sources: AP, Fox News, AL.com / Photo Credit: AL.com, Mobile Co. Sheriff's Office via NY Daily News

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