SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A Santa Ana man was ordered Tuesday to spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for killing his brother's girlfriend and her teenage daughter.
Peter Nong Le, 64, was sentenced by Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg to the life prison terms for the murders of Tuyet Le, 46, and Jennifer Cu, 15, on Dec. 14, 2004. The judge tacked on 25 years to life to Le's sentence for use a gun.
The question of whether he was insane and not criminally liable for the slayings went to trial twice.
Deputy Public Defender Brian Waite argued that Le suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from being forced to live in a re-education camp in his native Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
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The first jury deadlocked 11-1 for sanity, with one juror siding with the defense on the post-traumatic stress argument. The second panel agreed unanimously that Le was sane.
According to trial testimony, Le moved into the home shared by the victims about a month before the shootings.
Le became increasingly angry with Tuyet Le because he believed she was "disrespecting" him and his parents by calling him messy and unemployed, said Farrah Emami of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Le, wielding a rifle and a handgun, approached the teenager while she was in the kitchen and shot her multiple times in the head and chest. He then went into the backyard where the teen's mother was working in the garden and killed her by shooting her once in the chest, Emami said.
After the slayings, Le tied his father's legs to prevent him from running out of the house and gathered ammunition and multiple guns to prepare himself for a shootout with police.
His father was able to persuade him not to shoot at any officers, Emami said. Instead, the defendant called police and told them he had committed a crime and wanted to surrender, she said.