San Jose DA says victim killed by boyfriend

November 26, 2008 9:08:59 PM PST
A 31-year-old San Jose woman fatally shot in her car Nov. 17 was killed by the boyfriend of a woman whose business she had purchased, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Dieu "Tina" Nguyen was shot 10 times, several times in the torso and twice in the head, around 10:30 p.m. as she was driving her car on Southwest Expressway between Bascom and Stokes avenues, according to the district attorney's office.

Witnesses reported hearing shots fired and seeing a red Mustang convertible speeding away from Nguyen's car.

Another witness reported seeing Nguyen's car stop with its hazard lights on in the eastbound side of Southwest Expressway as another car parked next to it. The witness reported seeing a man exit the second car and shoot into Nguyen's car several times, according to the district attorney's office.

Nguyen was found in the driver's seat of her car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

After the shooting was reported, police received calls about a red Mustang convertible burning near Sierra Road and Lundy Avenue, according to the district attorney's office.

A witness reported hearing a car stop and noises sounding like items dropping and doors being slammed before hearing a car screech away, the district attorney's office reported. She reported then noticing the Mustang on fire.

Police took one of the shooting witnesses to the scene of the car fire to identify the Mustang as the car seen at the shooting on Southwest Expressway. A 9 mm bullet shell casing and a bullet hole in the dashboard were found when investigators searched the car, the district attorney's office reported.

The Mustang was registered to the mother of two brothers, Ba Tran, a 26-year-old San Jose man, and 24-year-old San Jose resident Bang Quan "Tommy" Tran.

Ba Tran apparently lives with his girlfriend, Diem Ho, a 36-year-old San Jose woman, but keeps a room in his mother's house, where Tommy also lives.

Ba Tran's mother allegedly told police that he usually drives the Mustang though he sometimes uses her Toyota Camry, the district attorney's office reported.

The two brothers allegedly communicated by borrowing cell phones after the shooting. The district attorney's office also alleges that Tommy disposed of his brother's clothing by burning them.

Ho and Ba Tran were also allegedly talking by cell phone within hours of the shooting. Ho allegedly transferred money to Ba Tran, who had gone to Southern California, the district attorney's office reported.

San Jose detectives obtained information of Ba Tran's whereabouts and that he was planning on fleeing to Mexico, according to police. Investigators collaborated with local authorities and arrested Ba Tran in Alhambra.

He was booked into Los Angeles County Jail and will be back in Santa Clara County next week, the district attorney's office said today.

Ba Tran has been charged with murder and the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, Deputy District Attorney Matt Braker said. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Tommy Tran was arrested Nov. 18 in San Jose and booked into the Santa Clara County jail. Tommy Tran and Ba Tran's girlfriend Diem Ho, arrested Saturday, have both been charged with accessory to murder.

The two could each face up to three years in state prison if convicted, according to Braker.

Tommy Tran has also been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with burning the Mustang, Braker said.

All three defendants have requested court appointed lawyers and are being held on no-bail status.

A motive in the murder has not been specified, but Braker said Nguyen recently purchased a business from Diem Ho that resulted in ill feelings between the women. Braker would not say what type of business Ho sold to Nguyen.

Tommy Tran and Diem Ho are scheduled to return to Dept. 23 of Santa Clara County Superior Court on Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. A court date for Ba Tran has not yet been scheduled.


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