Tam Le, Pennsylvania

 

Updated: Monday, June 1, 2020

Tam Minh Le was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm local time on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed by the Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court. Forty-eight-year-old Tam is convicted of the double murder of two brothers, 31-year-old Vu "Kevin" Huynh and 28-year-old Viet Huynh on August 26, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tam has been on death row in Pennsylvania for the last three years.

Growing up, Tam, who is from Vietnam, was frequently in trouble with the law and attended a school for delinquent youth. Tam has also previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

Vu "Kevin" Huynh and his brother, Viet Huynh owed money to Tam Le, who was demanding payment. The brothers called their friend, Tan “Soony” Voong on August 26, 2014, and asked to borrow $100,000. Soony was only able to gather approximately $40,000, and was told to bring the money to the home of Le, whom Soony had perviously met.

When Soony arrived at the home, he was met outside by Le and brought into the garage, where Kevin and Viet were bound, blindfolded, bleeding, and sitting in chairs wearing only their boxers and t-shirts. There were four other individuals present who were wearing face masks. Soony attempted to run, but was hit in the face and was placed with the brothers, hands bound with a zip tie, legs bound with duct tape, and duct tape placed over his eyes and mouth.

 

When Le discovered Soony did not have all the money Le was owed, the three captives were placed in a van and driven to a location along the Schuylkill River. Soony was stabbed several times, had a chain wrapped around his legs and thrown into shallow water, allowing him to continue breathing. Soony heard the brothers screaming before hearing something heavy entering the water, and Le stated, “It’s done.” Soony played dead until he heard the van leave.

 

Soony was able to remove the ducks tape on his eyes by rubbing against a wall, and eventually dragged himself out of the water, as the chain had come off his legs. Police discovered Soony along the side of the highway during the early morning hours of August 27. Soony initially lied to police about what happened, although he gave police enough information to lead them to the bodies of Kevin and Viet, before being taken the hospital where he was treated for eight stab wounds, two of which were life threatening.

 

Police discovered the bodies of Kevin and Viet, both submerged in several feet of water. Their legs had been chained to a bucket of cement. Both had been duct taped and had over a dozen stab wounds. The medical examiner was unable to determine if the brothers had been killed before being placed in the water.

 

While in the hospital, Soony told the police the truth about what happened, admitting he lied previously because he was scared and didn’t know who to trust. Soony identified Le out of a photo lineup. Police searched the home and property Le shared with his girlfriend, and found several items linked to the crime, in addition to forensic evidence. Le fled the state and was eventually arrested in January 2015, in Ashland, Virginia.

 

Soony testified against Le a his trial. Le claimed that he was not a participant in what happened to the brothers and that he feared for his life that night. Le was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Kevin and Viet. He also received a 20-40 year consecutive prison sentence for the attempted murder of Soony.  Charges have also recently been filed against others who are believed to have participated in, or contributed to the murders.

 

Le’s execution was stayed because he has not yet completed all his appeals. Additionally, on Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he received and reviewed a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011.  In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and “expensive." The report was concluded in June 2018, and upon review, Governor Wolf maintained the moratorium, stating that the report, which highlight several flaws in the capital punishment system, supports his decision.  Read more about the announcement here.  

 

Please pray for peace and healing for Tan “Soony” Voong, and for the family of Vu "Kevin" Huynh and Viet Huynh. Pray for strength for the family of Tam Le. Pray that Tam may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he was not already.

 

 

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