Man given long sentence in fatal birthday stabbings

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SAN DIEGO — A man who fatally stabbed two men during a fight outside a Grantville restaurant where a birthday party was taking place was sentenced Friday to 30 years and four months in state prison.

jail-cellJim Duc Nguyen, 26, was convicted Oct. 29 of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Christopher Manzon, 25, and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Ador Laus, 23. Manzon died the morning of the June 2, 2012, fight, while Laus died several days later in a hospital.

Nguyen was acquitted of more serious murder charges in the deaths after his defense attorney successfully argued that Manzon and Laus were the aggressors in the alcohol-fueled fight and that his client was only defending himself.

Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber said a mix of ethnicities — Filipinos, Vietnamese and others — were getting along at the party — inside and in the parking lot of the Saigon Star restaurant — until the manager, concerned about people drinking alcohol outside, asked that the group come inside with their drinks.

Laus conveyed the message to Nguyen, but the defendant “didn’t like that,” Koerber told the jury.

Soon after, Nguyen and Manzon fought, and Nguyen stabbed Manzon in the stomach. Laus then ran over to the Nguyen and threw a punch, prompting Nguyen to stab Laus in the side.

Defense attorney Tom Warwick said that before he was stabbed with a pocket knife, the 280-pound Laus hit the 145-pound Nguyen in the head with a beer bottle and punched him.

After the stabbings, a melee erupted in the parking lot, with beer bottles being thrown and people hitting cars with baseball bats as the defendant fled, Koerber said.

Nguyen tried to surrender the next day when he found out police were looking for him but the police station was closed, Warwick said. He was arrested at his home shortly afterward.

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