A judge has scheduled a trial for three young men accused of murder in the shooting deaths of a Modesto couple and their adult daughter during an apparent robbery at the family’s market in 2011.
Defendants Oloth Dicky Phommahaxay, Sophon Theoun Ting and Chris Douangkham, all of Modesto, are charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of Vanh and Phouvieng Thammavongsa and their daughter, Nanci Thammavongsa.
A criminal grand jury indicted the defendants in February 2012. Prosecutors sought the indictment to speed up the court process, skipping the preliminary hearing phase and moving straight to trial.
But the case remained stalled for two years and eight months until Tuesday, when Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Marie Silveira scheduled the trial to start Aug. 18. The trial is scheduled to begin four years and seven months after the Thammavongsas were killed in their family’s market.
The shooting occurred Jan. 25, 2011. For 15 years, the Thammavongsas had owned and operated V&V Oriental Market at 1320 Yosemite Blvd., east of Santa Cruz Avenue in Modesto.
Nanci Thammavongsa suffered a developmental disability at birth. She required constant care and usually was with her parents at the market.
Vanh Thammavongsa was pronounced dead where he was found at the market after the shooting. His wife and daughter were taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital. His wife died at the hospital later that day.
Nanci Thammavongsa died after two days on life support at the hospital. The family since has closed the market for good.
Police investigators have said the defendants are known gang members, so gang enhancements have been added to their charges. A criminal complaint filed shortly after their arrests says the defendants are members of the CWA Crips street gang.
A gang enhancement is added to charges when authorities believe a crime was committed for the benefit of a street gang. The enhancement can result in longer prison sentences.
Ting and Douangkham were minors when the shooting occurred, but they are being prosecuted as adults. All three are being held at the Stanislaus County jail as they await their trial.