EVERETT — An Everett man was sentenced to over 45 years in prison Friday for a triple shooting that left one woman dead at an Edmonds market.
Duy Phuong Nguyen, 28, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault for killing Thanh Vy Ly, 20, and shooting Ly’s boyfriend and Nguyen’s estranged wife.
The boyfriend suffered five gunshot wounds. He wrote to the judge last month that doctors have told him he survived only by “sheer luck.”
“Those memories will probably be a part of my life for the rest of my life,” the boyfriend wrote. “They will always remind me that I am no longer the happy and outgoing person that I used to be.”
As his sentence was handed down, the defendant sat in a dark gray dress shirt and black slacks next to his defense attorneys and a Vietnamese interpreter.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Edirin Okoloko’s 45½ year sentence for Nguyen is on the low end of the standard range for such crimes in Washington. Both prosecutors and Nguyen’s defense attorneys agreed on the length.
“The reason I will go along with the recommended sentence by the state is not for you at all,” Okoloko said to Nguyen Friday. “It’s because, in pleading guilty, you have given the families of these victims some closure.”
Nguyen and his estranged wife, 24, were married in Vietnam around 2017. She moved to Everett in July 2020 to live with him and his parents, according to charging papers. She worked at Boo Han Market on Highway 99 in Edmonds, along with Nguyen’s mother and another woman who became a close friend, Ly.
Nguyen had a history of beating his estranged wife, according to court papers. A few weeks before the shooting, she called 911 to report she was in danger. And the night before, she received two threatening texts from Nguyen, saying something along the lines of “Ly is finished” and “Tomorrow everything will end.” At some point, the wife had moved in with Ly.
Around 8:15 a.m. Sept. 29, 2020, Ly’s boyfriend drove Ly and the wife, then 24, to work at the Boo Han Market in the 22600 block of Highway 99.
The boyfriend stayed until Ly’s shift ended at 2 p.m. Then the couple went to run some errands while the friend continued working.
Just over an hour later, Nguyen showed up at the store, according to court documents. He followed his wife, who was Ly’s friend, around the market. He asked where Ly was. When he realized she wasn’t there, he left. His wife called Ly to let her know Nguyen was looking for her at the store.
Ly told her boyfriend. They decided to drive back to Boo Han to smooth things over with Nguyen.
The couple arrived at 3:23 p.m. Nguyen came back two minutes later.
Nguyen’s wife ran to hug Ly, while Ly’s boyfriend saw Nguyen talking with the store manager. He decided not to approach Nguyen because of his demeanor. Nguyen bought some alcohol and went to another section of the store.
Ly went to talk to the manager: “Do you think he has a gun on him?”
“No,” the manager responded.
At 3:28 p.m., the boyfriend decided to leave the market with Ly and Nguyen’s wife to call 911. Outside, Ly held Nguyen’s wife as she cried.
A little less than a minute into the call with police, Nguyen casually walked up to the huddled group. He pulled out a black handgun, and “without breaking his stride,” he fired roughly 12 rounds, according to the charges.
Once all three were on the ground, wounded, he walked away.
The estranged wife was shot in the face and leg.
The boyfriend reported he couldn’t feel his legs and his back felt like it was on fire.
Ly was shot twice, in the abdomen and arm. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. On the way, she told one of the medics in the ambulance, “My friend’s husband did this.”
She died in the operating room.
“There are times that I really want to pick up the (phone) and call her to tell and share with her all the new things and places that I found,” the boyfriend wrote to the court, “but my girlfriend is no longer on the other line.”
If you or someone you know needs a safe place to talk because of domestic abuse, you can call Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County at 425-25-ABUSE (425-252-2873). The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.