A Seaside man was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for first-degree murder for brutally beating and stabbing his mother-in-law in the presence of his children, prosecutors said today. Sunny Nguyen, 28, was sentenced Thursday for the death of Judith Salazar in her Pacific Grove home on Nov. 21, 2010. Nguyen’s two young children were staying with Salazar, their grandmother, when a family member confronted Nguyen about a cellphone missing from her home.
The family member warned him to stay away from Salazar’s house, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo. Instead, Nguyen took a cab to Salazar’s home and attempted to beat her to death with a heavy saucepan. When that failed, he killed her with a large kitchen knife, prosecutors said.
Nguyen testified in the trial, stating that he had acted in the heat of passion without premeditation, and had grabbed both the saucepan and knife at the same time. Flippo said Judge Mark Hood rejected that claim as not credible, stating that Nguyen went back to the kitchen to find the knife after the pan failed to kill the victim.