Crime - Sacto 911

Former fugitive convicted of 1995 gambling-related murders

A man arrested after 16 years as a fugitive has been convicted of first-degree murder in two south Sacramento-area slayings linked to gambling operations.

Hung Phi Nguyen, 46, was found guilty Thursday of the June 27, 1995, shooting deaths of 26-year-old Ri Nguyen and 27-year-old Say Ngo. He also was convicted of four counts of attempted murder, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

In 1995, Hung Phi Nguyen and two other people were attempting to take over an extortion racket of Chinese gambling businesses in south Sacramento. On May 17, 1995, Hung Phy Nguyen shot at Thang Bui and Duong Phan in a case of mistaken identity.

The on June 27, 1995, Hung Phi Nguyen and his associates shot and killed Ri Nguyen, their competition in the extortion operation, the news release said. They also killed Say Ngo, the owner of a gambling business. Mark Huang and San Vong were shot in the crossfire, but survived.

The June 1995 shootings occurred in broad daylight in the courtyard of an apartment complex on Lemon Hill Avenue where Ngo was running a gambling operation, according to a story in The Sacramento Bee. A number of people were in the courtyard, including children.

The other two defendants, Tien Duc Tran and Hung Tien Nguyen, were tried and convicted of the double murder in 1995, but Hung Phi Nguyen eluded law enforcement officers until he was captured while crossing the Arizona-California border in 2011.

Hung Phi Nguyen is to be sentenced July 21 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge David De Alba.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy