Crime - Sacto 911

Sentencing of man in 1995 Sacramento slayings linked to gambling

A man arrested after 16 years on the run has been sentenced for the first-degree murders of two men linked by authorities to Sacramento-area gambling operations.

Hung Phi Nguyen, 46, was found guilty last month 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.

Hung Phi Nguyen was sentenced Thursday to life without the possibility of parole, plus 99 years.

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 Phi Nguyen shot at Thang Bui and Duong Phan in a case of mistaken identity.

Then, 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 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.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews