Court documents reveal Phu Lam previously threatened to kill family
Watch: Acting Deputy Chief Mark Neufeld says investigators could not get involved with the Lam family after the Crown stayed all charges against Phu Lam.
WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
EDMONTON – The man believed to be responsible for Edmonton’s mass murder previously threatened to kill his family, court documents reveal.
An Emergency Protection Order, filed Nov. 6, 2012, reveals Phu Lam’s wife said he didn’t want her to have friends and changed her phone number.
His wife testified that Lam didn’t want her to get a job but she did anyway.
She told court he said he was going to shoot her and her family and then kill himself.
Lam was ordered to have no contact with his wife along with several members of her family, including her son.
Court documents show that Lam is 18 years older than his wife, who came to Canada from Vietnam in 2003. Lam had been living here since 1979.
Documents reveal her son was born March 2006, but that Lam had DNA tests done and said the boy wasn’t his biological child.
His wife testified Lam choked her several times and physically and sexually abused her. She said he also threatened to kill her. Her younger sister called police, court documents show.
In documents from February 2013, Lam’s marital status is listed as “separated.”
Between Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, eight people were found dead in two separate Edmonton homes. The body of the person police believe is responsible was found dead inside a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton, later Tuesday morning. Police said he died of an “apparent suicide.”
READ MORE: Edmonton mass murder: a timeline of events
Police say the bodies of three middle-aged women, two middle-aged men and two children, a boy and a girl – both under the age of 10, were discovered in a Lakeview home shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Police Chief Rod Knecht said there was no evidence the murders were gang-related. He called the tragedy an “extreme case of domestic violence.”
Cyndi Duong, a 37-year-old mother of three, was found fatally shot in a home in southwest Edmonton Monday evening. Global News learned on Thursday that Duong was not the shooter’s intended target. Her husband released a statement Friday morning.
Police are expected to release the autopsy results on the seven other victims and the alleged shooter on Friday.
Lam’s previous charges
Lam, 53, had a criminal history dating back to the 1980s. Court files show several counts of assault and aggravated assault in the late eighties – the outcome of which are not specified – charges of threats causing death or bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon with the purpose of harming the public in 1997 – all of which were dismissed.
In September 1999, Lam was charged with producing of a controlled substance and possession with the intent for trafficking (not exceeding three kilograms). Both of those charges were later withdrawn.
Weapons, drug, theft and prostitution related charges were recorded throughout the early 2000s. Many of those were either withdrawn or dismissed. Lam pleaded guilty to both charges of communicating with a prostitute.
In November 2012, Lam faced charges of sexual assault, assault, and seven counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. The charges were stayed on Dec. 21, 2012.
“A videotaped statement was provided by the main complainant to an investigator retained by defence counsel. It was a sworn statement, given with the aid of a Vietnamese interpreter.
“This statement recanted each and every allegation made to police,” explained the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, in a statement Friday.
(Read the full statement below)
“In these circumstances, the Crown could no longer be satisfied that there was a reasonable likelihood of the conviction of Lam. Accordingly, as required by their ethical obligations, the Crown stayed all charges against Mr. Lam on December 21, 2012.”
Police chief Rod Knecht said the 9 mm handgun used in all the murders was reported stolen in B.C. He also said Edmonton police were called to the Lakeview home twice in the past few years. In 2013, they responded for a “check on welfare” call and in 2012, for offences relating to domestic assault, sexual assault and uttering threats.
Court documents show Lam filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 21, 2013. Exempt property was listed as his house (on 180 Avenue and 83 Street) and furniture, and a 1989 Toyota Camry, totalling $393,000. Files show he owed creditors $481,296.
The reason for the financial difficulties and bankruptcy was listed as gambling.
Documents show he completed a gambling recovery intensive program in May 2014 and submitted an application for discharge in September of that year. In December 2014, Lam was ordered to pay $13,655 and $4,000 for abuse of credit with minimum monthly instalments of $750 beginning on Jan. 15, 2015.
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News
Statement from Michelle Doyle, Q.C., Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service:
“On November 4, 2012, Phu Lam was arrested for several serious offences, all of which were related to domestic violence. On November 5, 2012, the Crown opposed Mr. Lam’s release from custody, and his release was denied by a Provincial Court Judge. The investigation into these allegations was conducted by members of the Edmonton Police Service. It was thorough and comprehensive. All available supports were offered and made available to the complainants in this matter.
On November 7, 2012, the prosecution of this matter was assigned to a senior Crown Prosecutor in the Edmonton Prosecutions office. The Edmonton Prosecutions office approaches all allegations of domestic violence as crimes of considerable weight and seriousness, and accordingly several of their prosecutors have specific knowledge of the complexities and specific challenges of domestic violence prosecutions. Of course, the Crown is at all times obliged to proceed only in cases where there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction and where the prosecution is in the public interest.
On December 17, 2012, a member of the Law Society of Alberta delivered to the assigned Crown Prosecutor a package of written and translated statements from every witness that had been interviewed by police. These statements either recanted the original statements to police or changed the nature of their statement in material aspects. Additionally, a videotaped statement was provided by the main complainant to an investigator retained by defence counsel. It was a sworn statement, given with the aid of a Vietnamese interpreter. This statement recanted each and every allegation made to police.
In these circumstances, the Crown could no longer be satisfied that there was a reasonable likelihood of the conviction of Lam. Accordingly, as required by their ethical obligations, the Crown stayed all charges against Mr. Lam on December 21, 2012.
The events earlier this week are devastating to the entire community. The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) extends its sincere condolences to those who tragically lost loved ones and friends. The ACPS will have no further comment to provide on this matter.”