A 43-year-old Montgomery County man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday for stabbing his 12-year-old stepdaughter more than 40 times.
David R. Hang was sentenced Monday in Montgomery County Circuit Court. A jury convicted him of first-degree murder in August.
Hang killed Jessica Nguyen on May 31, 2011, in the basement of her Gaithersburg home.
"The death of my child will always be a burden for me," Jessica's mother, Khen Kim Vu, said through an interpreter at Monday's sentencing. "I have to eat with my tears, sleep with my tears."
Jessica's older sister, Belinda Nguyen, discovered the honor student's bloody body. "That image will always be there to haunt me," she said.
Prosecutors argued that Hang killed the Gaithersburg Middle School sixth-grader because he was angry over his drawn-out divorce proceedings with her mother.
"This case is about anger, frustration and revenge," prosecutor Stephen Chaikin said.
Hang had entered into a sham marriage with Vu, a Vietnamese woman, in order to help her obtain U.S. citizenship, prosecutors said. He wanted out of the marriage because he had fallen in love with another woman, but Vu did not want a divorce.
According to prosecutors, in a phone call from jail to his new wife about a month before his trial, Hang said "Now [Vu] is punished by her daughter's death. It serves her right!"
Hang's DNA was found on a sheath for a small sword that was near the victim's body.
But in court on Monday, Hang maintained his innocence and said he will fight his "wrongful conviction."
"I did not kill Jessica," he said. "I'm a victim in this case, too."
The defense asked that Hang receive a sentence of life with the possibility of parole, noting that he did not have a prior criminal record or history of domestic violence.
But Judge Sharon Burrell sentenced Hang to life without parole in light of the brutal nature of the crime.