Arrest made in 11-year-old cold case homicide

Mar 8, 2018, 9:46 PM | Updated: 10:31 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY – Police say a single fingerprint that has been sitting unidentified in a database since helped lead police to an arrest in a homicide case from January 10, 2007.

Background on Case

On Jan. 10, 2007, West Valley City police officers responded to the Vui Vui Billiard Pool Hall located at 1829 West 3500 South on the report of a dead body. Upon arrival at the scene, officers discovered the business owner, Tri Xuan Phan, 36, deceased just inside the back door of the pool hall.

An autopsy was conducted on the victim and the manner of death was listed as homicide, and the immediate cause of death as blunt force and sharp instrument injuries.

“They interviewed dozens and dozens of witnesses and potential suspects at the time but nothing ever panned out,” West Valley City Detective David Greco said.


Tien Truong Nguyen

Over the years, a fingerprint left at the scene of the homicide was routinely run through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), a nationwide fingerprint identification database. According to West Valley City Police Department, the fingerprint did not match any prints in the database since the crime occurred. However, April 22, 2018, the fingerprint was matched and identified as belonging to Tien Truong Nguyen. Cold case detectives took the information and began a complete re-investigation of the case.

On March 8, 2018, Tien Truong Nguyen, 37, was brought in for questioning and subsequently arrested. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on charges of Homicide and Obstruction of Justice.

Friend of Victim

Nina Nguyen, a business owner for 30 years in the same plaza as Vui Vui Billards, said she still remembers Phan and his family.

“I know his wife and his kid, they are very nice people.” Nina Nguyen said.

She named several business owners in the immediate community who remember the murder. Nina Nguyen said she, and many other are relieved to get answers after all these years.

“I expected police to find out in a couple years not 11 years, finally I’m happy…I’m happy they found the one who murdered him.”

Related: Fingerprint cracks 11-year-old West Valley murder case, police say

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Arrest made in 11-year-old cold case homicide