MOBILE, Alabama - A man accused of tossing his four young children to their deaths from a coastal Alabama bridge unexpectedly pleaded guilty Thursday and told a state judge he wants to be put to death.
"Dear Judge, My name is Lam Luong. I am plead guilty for that I have done that was the matter of killing my four children. From the day they die, I'm no longer want to live but I don't know how to die. Just please grant my wish. I hereby request the death penalty as soon as possible. That is my request. Lam Luong."
Luong was in court for a change of venue hearing. His attorneys argued that his story got so much media attention that their client could not get a fair trial in Mobile County. (Contacted by Luong's lawyers, WKRG said it ran 440 stories about Luong's case between January 2008 and January 2009.)
Under Alabama law, capital murder defendants must be tried before a jury even if they plead guilty. Luong's trial starts Monday, but will not be moved. The jury will not be sequestered, WKRG reports.
Luong's plea will now be used as evidence by the state.
Luong, who speaks Vietnamese, communicated with Graddick through an interpreter. Court-appointed defense attorneys have opposed his desire to plead guilty, which he had expressed previously.
"It came as a complete surprise. We didn't have any idea that something like that would happen," Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr. said, adding that prosecutors had been prepared to argue against changing the venue.