Cypress man sentenced to 40 years for beating wife to death with nail gun

Man allegedly told his wife day before murder that ‘if he couldn’t be with her, no one would’

Lam Ngoc Tran, 65 (Harris County DA Kim Ogg's Office)

CYPRESS, Texas – A Cypress man who pleaded guilty to bludgeoning his wife to death with a nail gun was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

Lam Ngoc Tran, 65, was convicted of murdering his wife, 49-year-old My Thai Dang, at their home on Peralta Springs Lane on Jan. 10, 2022.

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at the home to find Dang in a pool of her own blood. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been beaten to death with a heavy pneumatic nail gun, investigators said.

Deputies said they also found Tran, who had reportedly tried to kill himself by shooting himself with the nail gun several times after he murdered his wife. He survived his injuries after a Life Flight helicopter transported him to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Investigators said he sent “goodbye” texts to loved ones before trying to commit suicide.

Tran pleaded guilty to murder earlier this year in exchange for letting a judge decide his punishment after a pre-sentence investigation.

“This is a horrible murder, and it reinforces that the most dangerous time for a battered spouse is when they are trying to leave the relationship,” Ogg said. “This woman was trying to get away from an abusive husband, and the only reason she is dead is because he could not stand to lose control of her.”

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Magill, who is assigned to the DA’s Domestic Violence Division, said Dang had emigrated from Vietnam to Minnesota and then moved to Houston to marry Tran. They both worked at a plant that manufactures HVAC equipment.

“They had been married six or seven years and things had escalated into a cycle of domestic violence,” Magill said. “They were scheduled for a hearing for a protective order the very next day, and his response was that if he couldn’t be with her, no one would.”

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, see the resources from our “Breaking Free” series below:

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