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Cops: Man angry over sham marriage killed girl
Question of the Day
David Rich Hang entered into a sham marriage several years ago with a Vietnamese woman facing immigration problems, police said, collecting payments in return for helping her earn U.S. citizenship.
But authorities say that after she later refused to give him a speedy divorce, he brutally stabbed her 12-year-old daughter to death.
Mr. Hang was ordered held without bond during a hearing Wednesday in which he tearfully proclaimed his innocence in the killing of his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Jessica Nguyen. Her bloody body was found stabbed more than 40 times on May 31 in a basement bedroom of her family’s Gaithersburg townhome.
His arrest has brought to light details of the unusual marriage. The wife’s family had paid Mr. Hang to marry her, but he moved out very soon after the couple wed and had demanded a fast divorce so that he could have relationships with additional women — something the family had resisted, authorities say. He was married to at least one other woman when he was arrested.
Detectives initially found the case mysterious because there were no signs of forced entry in the home.
“There were a lot of people who were in the home or who had access to the home,” said Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. “All of these people were the first people we looked at.”
They soon zeroed in on Mr. Hang, 42, ultimately matching his DNA to the sheath of a knife or sword that was found without a matching weapon near the girl’s body, court papers say.
He also called out sick the afternoon of the killing from his job at Montgomery County Ride-On, a local transit system, and was observed a day later with a swollen hand, court papers say.
Boot impressions found at the scene were the same size as his shoe, and cell phone records place him in the neighborhood during the time police believe the killing took place, authorities say.
Mr. Hang, who prosecutors say has used different names and moved from state to state, continued to have access to the townhouse despite being estranged from Jessica’s mother, Khen Kim Vu. The couple had wed in a “sham” arrangement intended to help Jessica’s mother earn citizenship, said prosecutor Stephen Chaikin.
Mr. Hang, who appeared via video hookup for a bond hearing, sobbed as he denied any wrongdoing.
“I didn’t do that,” he said after Mr. Chaikin recited the allegations of the case.
He later said he had changed his name simply to make it easier for Americans to pronounce, and had moved around not for illicit purposes but because he was searching for a decent-paying job.
“I’m a good husband,” he said, later adding, “I work hard and I always show up for work each day.”
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