WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – A Utah man convicted in a cold case murder in West Valley City from 2007 is headed to prison.
Tien Troung Nguyen was sentenced Tuesday for the murder of Tri Phan, the owner of Vui Vui Billiards in West Valley City who was found beaten and stabbed over 13 years ago.
West Valley City Police Department announced in 2018 they finally had a suspect after detectives said it all came down to a small, but important piece of evidence, a fingerprint that they had all along but couldn’t match in a database until last year.
West Valley City police had collected a bloody fingerprint from the scene, but they didn’t know who it belonged to until 2015 when Nguyen allegedly committed a crime.
In 2015, Nguyen was arrested for threatening the employee of a bowling alley because his group was turned away when they arrived 20 minutes before the business closed. He returned with a sword and threatened the employee and other patrons. His friends then grabbed him and removed him from the business as police arrived.
West Valley detectives were investigating the cold case from 2007 when they found Nguyen’s information in their database and the fingerprint was a match.
Deputy Chief Matt Elson with West Valley City police said after making contact with the Nguyen, they were able to place him at the scene and developed enough information to arrest him for the homicide.
A news conference was held in 2018, announcing the arrest:
Nguyen will spend a minimum of 15 years in prison. He faces the rest of his life behind bars but that decision is be up to the Utah State Board of Pardons if he will ever get a chance at parole.