- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MOBILE, ALA. (AP) - One witness testified he spotted a man on an Alabama bridge who looked like he had just tossed a bag of trash over the railing. But prosecutors charge that the man was throwing four children to their deaths _ and the first victim was apparently in that bundle.

Lam Luong faced a second day of testimony at his murder trial Tuesday, accused by prosecutors of casting four children some 80 feet to their deaths in the Mississippi Sound on Jan. 7, 2008. Prosecutors said they will seek a death sentence if Luong is convicted.

Prosecution witness Jeff Coolidge said he was driving across the Dauphin Island bridge about 9 a.m. on that cool January morning when he noticed a man toss a bundle over the side. He pointed to Luong in the courtroom as being that same man.

“I thought it was a bag of garbage,” Coolidge testified.

Coolidge said he stopped to admonish the man for littering, but decided against it when he spotted three children in the van. But Coolidge contacted police the next day when he heard about the missing children.

Another witness, construction worker Frank Collier, also identified Luong as being on the bridge when Collier said he drove past Luong’s parked van that day. Collier testified that Luong was straddling the concrete bridge barrier at its highest point.

“I thought he was going to jump,” said Collier, who didn’t intervene.

Another motorist, Alton Knight, testified he thought the van had broken down. He saw only one child, a dark-haired girl with hair in pigtails and the van’s sliding door was open.

Luong is accused of throwing Hannah Luong, 2, Ryan Phan, 3, Lindsey Luong, 1, and Danny Luong, 4 months, into the cold Mississippi Sound after arguing with his common-law wife, Kieu Phan. Ryan was fathered by another man but the others were their children, authorities said.

Luong, a 38-year-old Vietnamese refugee, acknowledged killing the children in one statement, according to authorities. But they said the man later recanted to police, reverting to his initial story that an Asian woman named Kim took the children.

The four tiny bodies were recovered from waters off the Gulf coast after a wide search involving hundreds of volunteers using boats, aircraft and scouring the shoreline on foot.

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