A Wichita man was convicted Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter in the Dec. 9 stabbing death of another man at a party in southeast Wichita.
In reaching the verdict, the jury rejected a prosecutor’s claim that Dat “Tommy” Nguyen, 29, acted with “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and was guilty of second-degree murder.
Wichita police said Tan T. Nguyen, 27, was stabbed in the back during a fight in the 2000 block of South White Oak, which is near Pawnee and Rock Road. The men were not related.
Dat Nguyen testified that he acted in self-defense after another participant in the fight pulled a handgun.
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“I was scared for my life,” he told the jury. “I was afraid I was going to die.”
Prosecutor Trinity Muth told the jury in his closing argument that Dat Nguyen plunged a 4-inch-long knife into Tan Nguyen’s back as Tan Nguyen was being held face-down on the ground by several other men. Muth said Tan Nguyen was unarmed when Dat Nguyen walked up to him and stabbed him.
“He went over there for little retaliation, a little revenge,” Muth said. “He wasn’t defending anybody, ladies and gentlemen. He was getting his pound of flesh.”
Defense lawyer Nika Cummings said her client reacted after hearing one of his friends shout that someone had a gun.
“There is one stab, not multiple stabbings,” she told the jury. “It was a 4-inch knife; it’s a legal knife. This is not extreme indifference to the value of human life. … The gun that evening raised the fight to a whole new level.”
“I saw the gun and reacted,” Dat Nguyen said when he took the stand in his own behalf on Monday.
“How did you react?” Cummings asked.
“I reacted by defending myself and others,” he said.
“Did you believe you were going to get killed that night?” Cummings said.
“Yes. … I wasn’t angry. I was scared,” he answered.
Nguyen will be sentenced by District Judge David Kaufman, who presided over the seven-day trial.