Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Knockout Game' Widow Tells of Lonely Life after Husband's Murder

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Knockout Game' Widow Tells of Lonely Life after Husband's Murder

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * The diminutive woman stood in court, wearing an American flag pin on the lapel of her black jacket and speaking of both heartbreak and opportunity.

Yen Nguyen, 62, came to this country with her husband. Now she is alone.

A so-called "game" in which teens sucker-punch people for fun is the reason Hoang Nguyen, 72, is dead, prosecutors say.

And on Thursday, as Elex Murphy the young man convicted of playing that deadly "game" was sentenced to 55 years in prison, Yen Nguyen had a chance to speak about what losing her husband has meant for her life in America.

"After the death of my husband, I lived in this lovely country but I feel very lonely," she said, through a translator. "When we came here, we came here as a couple."

Hoang Nguyen was a teacher in Vietnam but retired upon coming to America and studied English at the International Institute. Yen Nguyen worked for a sewing company, as she still does.

They had been here only three years when the attack took place on April 16, 2011, killing him and injuring her. The couple had been walking home to their apartment at Chippewa and Spring streets from a grocery.

The flag pin Yen Nguyen wore Thursday was symbolic, not just because this was her chance to see justice in court. Since the trial last month, she has gained U.S. citizenship. Friends urged her to do so after her husband's death.

"My family is destroyed," Yen Nguyen said, continuing her statement in court. "But I believe this country is a country of freedom. Even though I am very lonely I will try to live, I will try to work hard."

Last month, a jury found Murphy, 20, guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree assault, plus two counts of armed criminal action.

Prosecutors had asked for first-degree murder, saying Murphy showed deliberation when he broke away from a group of friends and grabbed Hoang Nguyen by his shirt, then coldly held his chin, cocked back his own fist and delivered a punch strong enough to knock the man to the ground. …

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