Than Duy Kim was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison Wednesday for killing Mitch Xuan Dong at a Corvallis nail salon owned by Kim and his ex-wife, Anh Tram Gia Phan.
Kim, an Albany resident, bludgeoned Dong with a baseball bat and cut his face with knives Dec. 5, 2017 because Dong was having an affair with Phan.
Although Phan and Kim were divorced at the time of the incident they still lived in the same household in Albany and shared responsibility for the salon business.
Kim originally faced additional charges, including murder, but the murder charge was reduced to manslaughter, and all other charges save one assault count were dismissed in a plea agreement announced in the courtroom of Benton County Circuit Court Judge Locke Williams.
Williams then sentenced Kim to 120 months on the manslaughter count and 90 months for assault. The sentences will be served consecutively and Kim was ordered to pay more than $118,000 in restitution.
Kim will be subject to post-prison supervision and will be prohibited from having contact with Phan or Dong’s family. Kim will receive credit for time served, which will effectively reduce the sentence by approximately two years.
The sentencing came at the end of an emotionally draining one-hour-and-45-minute hearing that included statements from Kim’s family and Dong’s family as well as remarks by Kim that lasted nearly 45 minutes. The courtroom was packed with spectators, and eight law enforcement members were on hand.
Williams cited the statement as he sentenced Kim, calling it a “remarkable speech” while also noting that the “vast majority of the time was spent with you explaining your life. Your actions do not seem to connect with what you have told us, but actions have consequences. And I continue to have incredible sympathy for the Dong family.”
In his remarks before the sentencing Benton County Deputy District Attorney Matt Ipson described Kim as leaving Dong “broken, unconscious and scarred on the floor of the Corvallis Nail Spa” after he found Phan and Don together in the salon’s massage room on Dec. 5, 2017.
Ipson said that Kim hit Dong repeatedly with the bat and then cut him on the face with knives “in a way that was meant to leave him scarred and disfigured.”
Kim, Ipson said, had told his family he was flying out of town and even had a boarding pass. But instead of taking the flight Kim drove to the rear of the salon, saw the vehicles of Dong and Phan parked there, entered the salon through its back door and attacked Dong. Kim also carried a gun during the attack but did not use it, Ipson said.
Dong survived the attack, but died of his injuries six days later. Corvallis attorney Mike Flinn, representing Kim, did not challenge Ipson’s version of events.
Christine Dong, one of three family members who either spoke before the court or had their statements read, said that "this moment is the first time I’ve spoken in front of a crowd since my father’s funeral. I stand here today in the same outfit I wore to my father’s funeral. I wanted you to see and hear me, Mr. Kim. I want you to know what you’ve taken away from me, my family, and our community. I feel anger. So much anger that you knew me personally, and how much I loved my father, I’m angry that, as a father yourself, you didn’t think of me or my family on the evening of December 5th 2017.
"Even after everything you’ve done, I have envy for you — envy that you’re able to talk, eat, and breathe every day. But what I especially, and truly envy the most are your children, because they still have their father.”
Nathan Kim, who presented family photos to Judge Williams, countered that his father “always had one thing in mind — his family. My father has done so much good for other people and now his reputation is tarnished by this one event.”
Tan Duy Kim agreed during his lengthy statement, which covered his upbringing in Vietnam, his move to the United States and his business ventures and family life once he became established here.
He noted the Dong was a “trusted family friend” the he had traveled with on family vacations. He said that he had “begged Dong to leave my wife alone, but they continued on.”
“I can’t explain the reason why,” Kim said of the attack. “I’m haunted by what happened and regret it every minute of the day. I had no intention to harm Mitch Dong, not in a million years would I consider it possible that it would happen.”
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