Fort Worth

Accused stalker’s murder case ends in mistrial. Jury can’t decide on guilt

Months before she died, Cam-Tu Tran told friends and relatives that she was being stalked and that she was afraid of her estranged boyfriend.

But her warnings were wasted. According to family members, Viet Quoc Nguyen, 34, did not stop harassing Tran until she was dead.

On Thursday, a jury trial that lasted nearly a month ended in a mistrial, according to court officials. Nguyen, who was on trial for Tran’s murder, is free on bond and awaiting a decision on whether prosecutors will retry the case.

A mistrial was also declared in a separate case of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Nguyen arising from the shooting of a man who was with Tran at the time of her death.

After deliberating more than 12 hours over two days, jurors could not reach a decision, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial Thursday evening, a spokeswoman for the law firm of Varghese Summersett said.

“This was a very conscientious jury who listened very carefully to all the facts and evidence, but was unable to reach a unanimous decision on either charge,” said defense attorney Christy Jack of Varghese Summersett, who defended Nguyen with Letty Martinez.

Jack declined to comment further because the cases remain pending. Prosecutors Chris McGregor and Allenna Bangs also declined to discuss the case because it is still pending.

Police said Nguyen shot Tran, 30, and a man who was in the car with her on Jan. 9, 2017. Police found Tran about 1:30 a.m. in a parked Mercury Sable sedan outside a home in the 3400 block of Mayflower Court in Arlington.

The man couldn’t give police a full interview because he was shot near his mouth, but he identified Nguyen as the shooter in a photo lineup, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Viet Nguye_fitted.jpeg
A mistrial was declared in the first murder trial of Viet Nguyen after jurors could not reach a verdict. Jury selection for his second murder trial is expected to begin Monday. Handout Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

Tran’s family told police that she and Nguyen had been dating but recently separated.

Since then, the affidavit said, Tran had been receiving phone calls from various numbers, though the caller never said anything. Her car had also been keyed recently and her tires cut, her family told police. Tran suspected Nguyen of making the phone calls and damaging her car.

But that was not all.

Tran’s mother heard her screaming for help upstairs at their residence where Nguyen was visiting either in late 2015 or early 2016. Tran’s father went upstairs and Tran said Nguyen had strangled her. Nguyen apologized and asked Tran’s parents not to ban him from the house.

But Tran told her parents that she did not feel safe around Nguyen and broke off the relationship in July 2016.

After the break-up Nguyen kept showing up uninvited and unannounced at Tran’s job and at restaurants where Tran was eating. Tran’s vehicle was often found vandalized with garbage and waste, according to police.

A week before she died Tran told her father that she believed Nguyen was stalking her, and the family had security cameras installed inside and outside their residence because they feared him.

This story includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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