Arlington Police’s 10 Most Wanted Criminals, August 28
A Houston woman has been sentenced to life without parole for her involvement in the 2012 killing of an Arlington couple.
A Tarrant County jury found 47-year-old Dephne Wright guilty of capital murder late Friday. Wright received the automatic life sentence.
Jurors believed that Wright paid two people to kill Long Nguyen, 72, and his wife Huong Ly, 63, in their Arlington home to satisfy a debt.
Last week, Willie Guillory, 24, testified in the trial that he was a Houston-area teenager in 2012 when he traveled to Arlington with his uncle Bobby Guillory, 56 — and bludgeoned Nguyen and Ly with a baseball bat he had made in high school wood shop class.
The younger Guillory faces a capital murder charge in the case but has agreed to cooperate with authorities for a reduced charge. He was a key witness in the trial.
Wright has been described in previous news reports about the case as a self-proclaimed witch, but last week her lawyer Wes Ball of Fort Worth said that characterization comes from a misunderstanding about her occupation as a spiritual adviser who caters to the Asian community in Texas.
Wright had been hired by Nguyen and Ly, who were both of Vietnamese descent, to cast spells and help the family business, prosecutors have previously said. Wright was found guilty of hiring the uncle and nephew to kill the couple and collect their life insurance.
Willie Guillory, who has been offered a chance to plead guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated robbery with a potential sentence of up to 20 years, said he was adopted by his uncle as a young boy and endured years of physical and sexual abuse. He was a special education student at Cypress Springs High School near Houston.
Bobby Guillory was convicted of the murder-for-hire plot last year by a Tarrant County jury, and sentenced to life in prison.
Last week during testimony, Willie Guillory told a Tarrant County jury of six men and six women how he and his uncle drove to Arlington at night, used a key to enter the couple’s home, then removed the light bulbs from their fixtures and waited to attack them in the dark.
They also placed marijuana, a blue bandanna and beer in the house to throw off police and make it look like gangsters had killed the couple and thrown a party.
But that plan backfired. Willie Guillory testified that he smoked some of the marijuana in Nguyen and Ly’s house under his uncle’s direction — and, three years later, when he was imprisoned on unrelated theft charges, a sample of his DNA was taken as part of his incarceration. It matched the DNA found on a partly-burned joint found at the crime scene.
Nguyen and Ly lived in the 3600 block of Waverly Drive, just north of The Parks Mall.
About two hours after the uncle and nephew had broken into the house, Nguyen and Ly returned to the home.
As Nguyen entered the home, Willie Guillory jumped from the darkened kitchen and attacked him.
“I ran out with the baseball bat and hit him upside the head,” the nephew testified in District Judge Everett Young’s 297th District Court.
“He screamed,” Willie Guillory said, adding that he hit Nguyen on the head multiple times until the man was unconscious.
When Ly stepped into the home, Willie Guillory quickly attacked her as well.
“She didn’t scream,” he said of Ly, who like her husband was of Vietnamese descent. “She said something in her language.”
“There was a chain on the lady’s neck. I took it,” he testified. “I’m on top of her. It was dark. She tried to kick me (so) I hit her in the head again.”