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December 21, 2023

Bucks County mother sentenced to life in prison for killing her two sons

Trinh Nguyen shot the boys in the head while they slept in their Upper Makefield home

Investigations Crime
Bucks County son murders Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Trinh Nguyen was sentenced to two lifetimes for the murder of her sons in their Upper Makefield home.

An Upper Makefield mother was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of her two sons, according to the Bucks County Distrct Attorney's Office.

Trinh Nguyen, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder on Wednesday. She was sentenced to two life terms without parole for killing her sons and 10-20 years for the attempted killing of her neighbor — the maximum sentence for the latter. The sentences will run consecutively.

On May 2, 2022, Nguyen shot her sons, aged 9 and 13, in the head while they were sleeping at their home on Timber Ridge Road in Upper Makefield. Prosecutors said Nguyen carried out the killings in an act of rage over a recent divorce and the family's impending eviction from their home.

The shooting was part of a murder-suicide plan Nguyen made a week prior to the incident, according to an investigation carried out by Bucks County detectives and Upper Makefield Police. As part of that plan, authorities said Nguyen wrote instructions on what to do with her ashes, as well as the ashes of her sons. 

After the shooting, Nguyen encountered her 22-year-old neighbor Gianni Melchiondo, her ex-husband's nephew and her sons' cousin, and made a failed attempt to shoot him. Prosecutors said Nguyen pointed a revolver at Melchiondo's head and pulled the trigger twice, but that the gun did not fire. 

Nguyen then fled the scene, prompting a manhunt. Authorities said Nguyen drove to New Jersey after the shooting and purchased and ingested narcotics in an attempt to end her life. She was later taken into custody at Washington Crossing United Methodist Church.

Nguyen's sons were found in critical condition but later succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. 

The investigation found that Nguyen would soon be evicted from her residence. Landlord Corrina Tini-Melchiondo, Gianni's mother, told Nguyen to vacate by May 3, 2022, after neglecting to pay rent, owing over $11,000 in total. 

“I can’t emphasize enough the outstanding work done by this team that resulted in our ability to convict this defendant,” Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said in a statement.