Saturday, January 28

Bucks County mom allegedly planned to kill her children in advance of duplex shooting, prosecutors say


The woman accused of fatally shooting her two sons at their home in Upper Makefield last Monday morning allegedly had left a handwritten will at the scene with a date more than a week before she shot each boy in the head, Bucks County prosecutors announced.

Trinh Nguyen, 38, had charges upgraded to first-degree murder in the shooting of 13-year-old Jeffrey “JT” Tini and 9-year-old Nelson Tini. The boys were found critically wounded at the home in the 100 block of Timber Creek Road. They were placed on life support to donate their organs and had not been expected to survive. They died at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where they had been transferred from St. Mary Medical Center. 

“This defendant’s murder of two of her sons is unconscionable and horrific,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said. “We will do what needs to be done to seek justice for all of them.”

In an updated criminal complaint filed Monday, prosecutors said Nguyen wrote a will dated April 25 that included instructions for an unnamed recipient, including what should be done with the ashes of both boys and Nguyen’s own ashes — indicating she had planned to take her own life.

A search warrant on Nguyen’s 2018 Toyota Sienna also revealed a handwritten note.

“Please call 911! My children are Dead in their bed at 119 Timber Ridge Road 18940,” the note said.

After allegedly shooting her sons, Nguyen was disarmed by her landlord’s 22-year-old son, Gianni Melchiondo, who wrestled the gun away from her when she tried to shoot him outside the duplex, police said. The gun failed to fire twice.

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Nguyen then left the scene in her van, briefly crossing into New Jersey before she returned to the area and was arrested hours later in the parking lot of Washington Crossing United Methodist Church.

Nguyễn Upgraded Charges BucksSource/Bucks County Crimewatch

Trinh Nguyen

During her initial arraignment last Monday, Nguyen allegedly denied having fled from the home in Upper Makefield. She claimed she had gone to New Jersey to obtain narcotics, which she later ingested in an attempt to take her life, prosecutors said. She told investigators that she did not previously use drugs.

In addition to ammunition from the .38-caliber Ruger revolver recovered at the duplex, prosecutors said Nguyen’s vehicle contained several suspected bags of heroin, some of which were empty and some full.

Before attempting to shoot Melchiondo, Nguyen allegedly asked him to take a box of photos to be given to Nguyen’s ex-husband, Edward Tini. Melchiondo is Tini’s nephew, who lived in the other half of the duplex with his mother, Corrina Tini-Melchiondo, the owner of the property.

Court records show that Nguyen was facing eviction in the months leading up to the shooting and owed Corrina Tini-Melchiondo more than $11,000 in back rent. As part of a property settlement, Nguyen had been given permission to temporarily reside at the duplex with the two boys until she found a new home. She stopped paying rent and Tini-Melchiondo initiated an eviction last November.

Nguyen was set to be evicted on May 3, the day after the shooting occurred.

Nguyen also reportedly was engaged in custody battle with her ex-husband, who had expressed fear that she would use money from the divorce settlement to take one of the boys to Vietnam and not return, NBC10 reported.

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The two boys, both students in Council Rock School District, were honored last week during a vigil at Washington Crossing United Methodist Church. 

Prosecutors did not shed any additional light Monday on why they believe Nguyen would have targeted her children. 

In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Nguyen is charged with attempted homicide, a weapons offense and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23.

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