MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A man accused of tossing his four young
children to their deaths from a coastal Alabama bridge has pleaded
guilty and told a state judge he wants to be put to death.
Lam Luong (Lahm Lu'-ong), a 38-year-old Vietnamese refugee who
arrived in the U.S. in 1984, entered the plea before Circuit Judge
Charles Graddick at a hearing Thursday.
Under Alabama law, capital murder defendants must be tried before a jury even if they plead guilty.
Luong's trial starts Monday.
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.
Prosecutors claim Luong argued with his common-law wife before
he drove the family van to the top of the two-lane bridge on Jan.
7, 2008 and tossed the children into the cold waters of Mississippi
Sound 80 feet below.
The bodies of the four children - ranging in age from 3 years to
4 months - were recovered from waters off the coasts of Alabama,
Mississippi and Louisiana during a search that involved hundreds of
volunteers in aircraft, boats and on foot.