Texas Man Sentenced for Killing Wife with Nail Gun

A Texas man, aged 65, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after confessing to the murder of his wife. Lam Ngoc Tran admitted to killing his wife, My Thai Dang, 49, with a nail gun in their home. In a failed suicide attempt, he also used the tool to shoot himself in the face and wrist. The sentencing was handed down by Harris County District Court Judge Veronica M. Nelson, according to court documents.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg commented on the case, highlighting the danger faced by victims of domestic abuse when attempting to leave their abusers. She stated that the victim was trying to escape an abusive marriage, and her death was a result of her husband’s inability to relinquish control.

Tran pleaded guilty to a single count of murder in May, five months after his wife had filed for divorce. On the night of January 10, 2022, police were called to the couple’s home after receiving a 911 call from a man with slurred speech, who was in apparent pain and in need of medical help.

Upon arrival, first responders found Dang in her pajamas, lying in a pool of blood in the master bedroom. She had sustained severe injuries to her face and head. A nail covered in what seemed to be blood and human hair was found nearby. Tran was discovered in the living room, approximately 20 feet from his wife, with severe injuries to his face and body. A red pneumatic nail gun connected to a small air compressor via a blue hose was found in close proximity.

An autopsy confirmed that Dang’s injuries were consistent with being repeatedly struck by a heavy object with a distinctive pattern, matching the nail gun found at the scene. Interviews with Tran’s son and Dang’s niece revealed that Dang had filed for divorce in August 2021 and Tran had been served with divorce papers on December 18, 2021.

Dang’s niece told police that Dang had called her from a closet on the day the divorce papers were served, hiding because Tran was upset about the divorce. She also revealed that Tran had expressed his intention to prolong the divorce process as much as possible, insisting that Dang would not divorce him.

Tran’s daughter informed the police that on the afternoon of January 9, 2022, her father had sent a text message to her and her siblings, stating that he was going away, they wouldn’t be able to reach him, and if they needed anything, they should contact their uncle. The couple was due to appear in court for a hearing regarding a restraining order Dang had sought against her husband.