Man gets 15 to life in stabbing

PASADENA — A 74-year-old Monterey Park man was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison for stabbing a Glendale cardiologist several times in November 2006.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover also ordered the man, Mike Du Trieu, to serve an additional five years in prison for permanently paralyzing physician Mohamed Latif. He was ineligible for probation, she said.

In sentencing Trieu, Clover said the crime was "so egregious that the interest of justice would not be served" by granting him leniency because he was "a continuing threat to the victim and society."

Before he was sentenced, Trieu asked Clover to take into account his military service 45 years ago and the fact that he "jumped behind any man."

"I hope you give me more dignity, so I can go seek treatment," he said.

Trieu was convicted July 9 of trying to kill Latif, who worked at the Heartbeat Cardiovascular Medical Group in the 600 block of Broadway in Glendale, officials said. Jurors also determined that Trieu was sane when he stabbed Latif, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Trieu gave Clover a letter addressed to Latif before the sentencing, but the contents of the letter were not disclosed.

During the sentencing, Trieu told Clover that he needed to continue seeing his physician while imprisoned for proper treatment, and that he was a war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress.

Trieu's attorney, Alan Ross, told Clover that prison officials would likely provide all the medical services that his client needed.

He also asked that the court ensure books taken as evidence during the investigation were returned.

Trieu had been Latif's patient for more than a decade before attacking him in his office, authorities said.

The jury agreed with prosecutors who alleged he pulled out a pocketknife during a routine appointment and stabbed Latif in the back, left shoulder and face.

Another physician working that day had to pull Trieu off of Latif while he was being stabbed.

Trieu claimed Latif killed his mother in 1994, and Trieu attacked him in retaliation, according to the district attorney's office.

A restitution hearing was scheduled for Sept. 2 to determine damages owed in the case.

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