A Jackson County judge on Friday sentenced Thu Hong Nguyen to 74 years in prison for setting a disastrous fire in 2015 that resulted in the deaths of two firefighters — Larry Leggio and John Mesh — and the injuring of two others
Thu Hong Nguyen, dob: 6/20/1972, was sentenced to 30 years on two counts of felony murder, and those sentences were set to run consecutive to each other. Two assault counts were set at 7 years and were ordered to run consecutive to the felony murder sentences. Other sentences — 30 years for the arson conviction related to the Kansas City fire and 15 years for a fire in Lee’s Summit — were set by the judge to run concurrent with the murder and assault sentences.
Jackson County Prosecutor Baker thanked the federal ATF for its diligence and investigative work that were so valuable in helping prosecutors. George Lauder, ATF Special Agent In Charge, other ATF agents, Mayor Sly James, Police Chief Rick Smith and former Fire Chief Paul Berardi, as well as many other police and fire department commanders, attended the sentencing hearing.
During the hearing, prosecutors sought 89 years in prison for Nguyen’s conviction, citing the multiple deaths, assaults and the catastrophic arson that also destroyed the residences of multiple apartment dwellers. In addition, evidence developed showed that the defendant had become a serial arsonist who over the years benefited from nearly $270,000 in insurance payouts in 16 separate fires.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Dan Nelson, Theresa Crayon and Dan Portnoy prosecuted the case on behalf of the state of Missouri.
*Charges are only accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until the defendant is either found guilty or has pleaded.