• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Pharmacy student guilty of killing mother

March 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A pharmacy student accused of choking his 71-year old mother because she nagged him to become a physician, has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter. After two days of deliberations, an Orange County jury on Tuesday found Richard Lam Nguyen, 31, of Garden Grove, guilty in the 2008 death of Nuong Nguyen. On December 20, 2008, the two had an argument about the son's career plans. Prosecutors say Richard Lam Nguyen became enraged and strangled his mother to death with his hands inside a bedroom of their Garden Grove home. The choking caused her to have a fatal heart attack.

Richard Lam Nguyen's attorney, Rob Harley, says his client suffered from schizophrenia, anxiety and depression and his mother "was a heart attack waiting to happen."

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley says the son choked his 5-foot, 80-pound mother with such force it broke the vertebrae in her neck and damaged the thyroid cartilage. "He took his hands, put them around her frail, wrinkly throat and squeezed really, really hard," Talley said in his opening statement to jurors.

Nguyen faces up to 11 years in state prison when he's sentenced on May 21, 2010 in Santa Ana.