A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a man’s conviction for murdering his mother and burying her body in the backyard of their rented condominium in El Monte, where it was discovered after he confessed to police about a decade later.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support John Taylor Huynh’s first-degree murder conviction for the 2001 stabbing and slashing death of his mother, Hong Tu Phuong.
“In this case, after defendant attacked his mother, he did not seek medical attention for her or remorsefully admit his crime,” the appellate court panel found in a six-page ruling. “Instead, he buried the body, cleaned the crime scene of evidence and attempted to start a new life, something he apparently achieved for nearly 10 years. This is evidence from which the jury could conclude that defendant’s state of mind was not rash and impulsive but, instead, was cold and calculating.”
The appeals court justices noted that Huynh told others that his mother had returned to Vietnam and that “he appeared to get away with murder until 2011, when guilt compelled him to walk into a police station and confess the crime.”
Huynh accompanied police investigators to the scene and showed them where he had buried his mother’s body, and the woman’s skeletal remains were found when the grave was excavated, the appellate court justices noted.
Huynh was convicted in March 2014 and is serving a 26-year-to-life term in state prison.
— City News Service