HOUSTON (KIAH) — A man who killed his wife at her Chinatown beauty school and staged the scene to look like a robbery was sentenced to 55 years in prison on Thursday.
Trang Vu, a 52-year-old Houston man who now goes by the name Itani Milleni, was charged with murder four years after the 2015 killing of his estranged wife, Tuyet Ngoc Tran, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said.
“Domestic violence can affect any community, and far too often we see it escalate to murder, like in this case,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “This defendant did everything possible to escape responsibility, but in the end, her family got justice. We thank the jurors for their service and for considering all the evidence in this brutal attack.”
Tran, a 49-year-old Vietnamese-born beautician, was found bludgeoned to death at her beauty school and salon at 10800 Bellaire Blvd. on July 20, 2015. The murder weapon was never recovered.
Investigators believed from the beginning that someone had staged a robbery at the business to hide the murder because, among other things, Tran’s credit cards and cash were left untouched.
Three months after the slaying, Vu changed his name to Itani Losangel Milleni. He also relinquished his parental rights to the couple’s children and moved away from Houston while working as a truck driver.
Four years later, as Vu sought to collect the money from his wife’s life insurance policy instead of letting the money go to his children, the investigation was reignited and Vu was charged with murder.
“He thought he got away with murder,” said Assistant District Attorney Stephany Abner, who prosecuted the case with ADA Sarah Seely. “We’re happy that the victim and her family finally got justice because it was a long time coming.”
After a six-day trial in September, jurors deliberated 25 minutes and found him guilty of murder. The judge set the punishment for this month, and Vu was sentenced Thursday to 55 years.