Pa. Mom Allegedly Planned Killings of Sons a Week in Advance, Gave Instructions About Disposing Ashes

A handwritten will suggests that Trinh Nguyen, 38, allegedly planned her sons' deaths at least a week before they were fatally shot on May 2

Jeffrey "JT" Tini and Nelson Tini
JT Tini and Nelson Tini. Photo: Facebook

One week before allegedly shooting her two sons in the head as they slept in bed, a Pennsylvania mom scribbled a handwritten will telling the recipient what to do with her boys' cremated ashes.

The boys — Jeffrey "JT" Tini, 13, and Nelson Tini, 9 — died Friday after the shooting at their Bucks County home four days earlier, on May 2.

On Monday, charges against their mother, Trinh Nguyen, 38, were upgraded from attempted murder to first-degree murder.

"I have been praying for these boys and their surviving family for days," Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said in a statement confirming the charges. He described Nguyen's actions as "unconscionable and horrific."

"I am so sad to hear of their passing," Weintraub said. "We will do what needs to be done to seek justice for all of them."

Nguyen said little during her arraignment Monday in court, and court records did not indicate whether she had an attorney who might speak on her behalf, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to a revised criminal complaint filed Monday, detectives allege Nguyen planned the killings at least a week earlier, as evidenced by her handwritten will dated April 25 and found in her duplex home after her arrest, the D.A.'s statement said.

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Police began investigating about 7:05 a.m. May 2 after receiving a report of an armed suspect.

Gianni Melchiondo, 22, Nguyen's next-door neighbor and her ex-husband's nephew, said he'd heard gunshots and went to investigate, finding Nguyen outside on the front lawn of their shared duplex, Weintraub said.

Nguyen then handed Melchiondo a box of photos and asked him to give the box to her ex-husband, before pointing a gun in his face, Melchiondo told police.

But when Nguyen allegedly pulled the trigger — twice — the gun did not fire, Melchiondo said. He then grabbed and disarmed Nguyen, who he said fled in a Toyota Sienna minivan, leaving behind a .38-caliber Ruger revolver.

Trinh Nguyen
Trinh Nguyen.

An officer and Melchiondo's mother who then searched Nguyen's residence found the two boys inside with gunshot wounds to their heads. They were taken to a hospital and remained on life support until they died.

Investigators did not reveal a motive for the shootings, but discovered a rocky relationship between Nguyen and the family of her ex-husband, Ed Tini, who unsuccessfully fought for sole custody of the boys when the couple divorced last year, reports the Inquirer.

The duplex was owned by Nguyen's former sister-in-law, Corrina Tini-Melchiondo, and Nguyen had been served an eviction notice with a May 3 deadline after falling behind more than $11,000 in rent, court records reviewed by the newspaper show.

Jeffrey "JT" Tini and Nelson Tini
JT and Nelson Tini. Facebook

Authorities located Nguyen in the minivan about four hours after her confrontation with Melchiondo and she was arrested. At her arraignment that day, she denied fleeing and told a judge she had driven to New Jersey "to obtain narcotics, which she ingested in an attempt to kill herself," according to the criminal complaint.

A note found on the minivan's passenger-side dashboard read, "Please call 911! My children are Dead in their bed at 119 Timber Ridge Rd.," the D.A.'s statement said. In the vehicle police also found .38-caliber ammunition, several empty suspected heroin packages, several full suspected heroin packages and swabs of suspected blood, among other evidence.

The handwritten will found in Nguyen's home instructed the recipient what to do with Nguyen's ashes, as well as those of the boys.

She has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and one count each of attempted homicide, possession of an instrument of crime and possession of a controlled substance. She is being held without bond.

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