A 29-year-old Fountain Valley man pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his fiancee and was immediately sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Philip Ngoc Nguyen. Photo via Fountain Valley Police Department
Philip Ngoc Nguyen accepted a plea deal that dropped a murder charge that could have seen him get sentenced to 40 years to life had he been convicted at trial.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said there was “insufficient evidence of malice” in the case, so proving the defendant was guilty of second-degree murder would have been difficult.

Much of the problem involves the fact that investigators have only Nguyen’s version of what happened on Feb. 25, 2011. Nguyen told police that he had indicated to his fiancee, 27-year-old Uyenni Ton, that he wanted to take his own life.

He said that when he pulled out a gun, a struggle over the weapon led to the shooting, Pino said.

Nguyen was living with his parents in their Fountain Valley trailer at the time, and Ton was visiting, Pino said. The couple had been together for about three years, the prosecutor said.

Nguyen, who had no prior criminal record, is expected to finish his sentence in about 10 years, Pino said.

— City News Service

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