Watch the moving YouTube video of the candlelight vigil for this beloved family, allegedly murdered by Modesto teens.
View news video of the suspects’ arrest, confirming the motive was robbery. Daughter Nanci originally placed on life support, was already being called a murder victim, as there is no brain activity and she is technically brain dead. Friends of the victims are calling for the death penalty for the 18 year old suspect. The 55-year-old male victim, Vanh, who was the owner of the store, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his 49-year-old wife Phouvieng died later at a nearby hospital. Their 28-year-old developmentally disabled daughter, Nancy, was pronounced brain dead earlier this week and was taken off life support, Modesto Police Sgt. Rick Armendariz said.
The offenders were allegedly two teens who will be charged as adults and who with the 18 year old adult offender robbed the mini-mart run by the respected Laotian family.
Three young men charged with the shooting deaths of a married couple and their adult daughter appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court this morning for the second time since their arrest last week.
Defendants Oloth Dicky Phommahaxay, 18, Sophon Theoun Ting, 16, and Chris Douangkham, 15, all of Modesto, waived their right to a speedy trial.
The defendants have been charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of Vanh and Phouvieng Thammavongsa and their daughter, Nanci Thammavongsa.
Their defense attorneys asked Judge Marie Silveira for more time, since they had not received all the discovery evidence from prosecutors. Silveira granted the request and scheduled another pretrial hearing for Feb. 16.
Not much more was discussed during today’s 15-minute hearing. The defendants sat quietly and answered the judge’s questions, including helping her learn how to pronounce their names.
The teenage defendants have pleaded not guilty. Ting and Douangkham are minors, but the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office will prosecute them as adults.
Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty in this capital murder case.
Just like their arraignment hearing last week, Phommahaxay, Ting and Douangkham entered the courtroom Thursday escorted by probation officers and sheriff’s deputies. Ting and Douangkham are being held at the Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall, which is run by the county’s Probation Department.
About 15 relatives of the Thammavongsas were also in the courtroom Thursday. One of the relatives was holding a large framed photo of the slain family members.
The deputies and probation officers monitored the defendants and the courtroom audience to ensure everyone’s safety. There were no emotional outbursts during the hearing.
Bail has been set at $10 million each for Ting and Douangkham. Phommahaxay is being held without bail at the Stanislaus County Jail.
The criminal complaint filed in court last week alleges Phommahaxay was lying in wait when he shot the Thammavongsas at the market. The details were listed as special allegations, enhancements and special circumstances added to Phommahaxay’s charges.
Prosecutors believe Phommahaxay broke into the market with the intent of committing a burglary, which escalated into the robbery and shooting of the Thammavongsas. The criminal complaint doesn’t say if Douangkham and Ting are believed to have been armed or fired a gun during the crime.
Police said the defendants are known gang members, so gang enhancements have been added to their charges. The criminal complaint says the defendants are members of the CWA Crips street gang.
A gang enhancement is added to charges when authorities believe suspects committed a crime for the benefit of a street gang. The enhancement can result in longer prison sentences.
For 15 years Vanh Thammavongsa, 55, and his wife, Phouvieng Thammavongsa, 49, had owned and operated V&V Oriental Market at 1320 Yosemite Blvd., east of Santa Cruz Avenue.
Nanci Thammavongsa, 28, had a developmental disability since birth. She required constant care and was usually with her parents at the market.
Vanh Thammavongsa was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife and daughter were taken by ambulance to a hospital. His wife died at the hospital later that day.
Nanci Thammavongsa remained on life support at the hospital until she died two days after the shooting.