FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 24, 2012Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
GRANDDAUGHTER SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS FOR 2008 MURDER OF FAMILY MATRIARCH
FAMILY CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE WITH THE LINGERING EFFECTS OF THE TRAGEDY
LEESBURG, VA - October 22, 2012. Julie Thi Dong, 22, of Leesburg was sentenced to serve 30 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections for her role in the 2008 killing of her grandmother, Hanh Thi Hoang.
Julie Dong, along with her mother Kimphoung “Kim” Thi Dong, was charged with the murder of her grandmother in 2008 after an investigation conducted by the Leesburg Police Department. Law enforcement was summoned to the residence by another family member who found the victim deceased in the home she shared with Julie and Kim. It was determined that the victim had succumbed to injuries sustained from being stabbed multiple times while she lay sleeping in her bed. Mother and daughter fled the Commonwealth and were eventually extradited from New Mexico shortly after the incident.
Family members testified at the sentencing hearing, describing Mrs. Hoang as a loving and caring woman who enjoyed nature and attending her local church. Four years later, dealing with the devastating loss of their loved one continues to take a mental and physical toll on the family. Numerous family members testified that “every day is a struggle with unanswered questions.” Theyare left to wonder why this happened and how two of their own could have committed such an egregious act.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman asked the Court to impose a sentence commensurate with the heinous nature of the crime. Plowman addressed Dong’s mental health issues and her youth, but also pointed out that this was a “very personal killing,” stating, “this was not a case where the victim was shot from a distance, but instead this defendant wielded a knife and repeatedly stabbed her own grandmother, the woman who unconditionally loved her, helped raise her, and provided food and shelter for her.”
Julie Dong has a history of mental illness and since the date of her plea, in August 2009, has spent approximately two and half years in Central State Hospital receiving treatment to return her to competency so that she could be sentenced. Prior to the Hon. Burke F. McCahill pronouncing sentence, Dong turned to her family in the courtroom addressing them directly, saying “I am sorry for what I did. I accept responsibility. I am so sorry.”
Before sentencing Dong to spend the next 30 years in prison, McCahill noted that this case “is a tragedy, and there are no winners, just losers.” It was further ordered that Dong be placed on supervised probation for 25 years upon her release and that she comply with any mental health treatment that is recommended. Julie’s mother, Kim Dong, was found guilty of murder by a LoudounJury in January 2010. Kim Dong was ultimately sentenced on June 3, 2010 to serve 35 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections for her role in the murder in accordance with the jury recommendation.