South El Monte man convicted of ex-girlfriend’s murder

LOS ANGELES – A South El Monte man faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a former girlfriend two years ago, authorities said Thursday.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Tuesday convicted 40-year-old Toan Phan of second-degree murder. He will be sentenced Sept. 11.

Phan shot Hong Nguyen and himself in the 11400 block of Thienes Avenue in South El Monte on July 17, 2010.

He claimed the shooting was accidental.

But Deputy District Attorney Terrie Tengelsen said Phan killed Nguyen in a murder-suicide attempt.

The 34-year-old Nguyen, who lived in Orange County, was Phan’s former girlfriend. Phan married someone else.

Phan wrote a suicide note saying he still loved Nguyen and hoped they could be husband and wife in the next life, according to Tengelsen.

Before the shooting, Tengelsen said Phan went to Greater El Monte Community Hospital with chest pains. Either the hospital or Phan then called Nguyen to pick him up.

She drove him home.

At 4:45 a.m. on July 17, 2010, deputies went to the Thienes Avenue home on a call about a shooting.

They found a wounded Phan in the doorway. They also discovered Nguyen who was pronounced dead at the scene. Both were shot in the upper body.

- Ruby Gonzales

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