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Defense rests in Pouncey murder trial

Closing arguments set for 9:30 a.m., Wednesday

Jerry Duy Nguyen was shot outside his ex-wife's home in Tigard on Jan. 30, 2015. His alleged killer, Orlando Pouncey, faces one count of murder, as well as charges of unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.Closing arguments are expected Wednesday in the trial of Orlando Pouncey, the man police say shot and killed a Beaverton father outside his teenage son’s home in Tigard last year.

According to prosecutors, Pouncey was hired by his girlfriend to kill her ex-husband, Jerry Duy Nguyen. Nguyen was shot on Southwest Canterbury Lane on the evening of Jan. 30, 2015 after he arrived at the home to pick up their son.

Prosecutors and Pouncey’s defense rested their case on Tuesday, with closing arguments set for May 4.

Wednesday's closing arguments will wrap up a week-long trial in Washington County Circuit Court.

Last week, prosecutors called Nguyen’s ex-wife, Lauren Nguyen, to the stand.

Lauren Nguyen has not been charged in Jerry Nguyen’s death, but prosecutors believe that she and Pouncey were selling heroin and claim she paid Pouncey $15,000 to murder her ex-husband, with the promise of more after the deed was done.

Orlando PounceyLauren Nguyen said that although her ex-husband could have a volatile temper, she never wanted him dead.

“He was the one person who you’d call if you needed anything,” she testified. “We went on vacation together.”

Lauren Nguyen met Jerry Nguyen in an IHOP restaurant in 1998. The couple had a son together and were married in 2000. They separated less than a year later and were divorced in 2002.

During her three-hour testimony, Nguyen said she was a regular heroin user at the time of Jerry Nguyen’s death, using as much as three times a day, as well as smoking marijuana and taking methamphetamine. Nguyen said that she and Pouncey had been seeing each other for the better part of a year, but she never allowed him to meet or interact with her son.

“I don’t think it’s OK for a child to see his mother with men who are not going to be (his step-father),” Lauren Nguyen testified. “I don’t care if you’re the Pope or Charles Manson, you’re not going to see my son unless you are his father, or I’m married to you. I didn’t think that was right … I wasn’t about to have (Pouncey) move in with me or get into a relationship. My son is my life and my priority. He’s 15. I can wait three years to have a live-in boyfriend.”

Despite this, Lauren said, Pouncey stayed the night at their home the evening before Jerry Nguyen’s death. That evening, the couple visited the Tigard Walmart store, where they purchased ammunition. Nguyen denied knowing about the purchase.

“He (Pouncey) did his shopping and I did my own,” Nguyen said. “He paged me to the sporting goods department and I brought my items over and what he’d bought was already in the bag on the countertop. I ran my card, paid for everything, and then we left.”

Nguyen, who is a convicted felon, isn’t allowed to own a handgun or ammunition.

After Pouncey’s arrest, Nguyen was charged with a possessing ammunition as a felon, a federal charge.

The day of the shooting

The next day, Jerry Nguyen was scheduled to pick up their son after he got off work. Lauren Nguyen had been speaking to Pouncey in her garage when Jerry Nguyen called to say he was on his way over.

Lauren Nguyen was leaving the garage and had just walked in her front door when Jerry Nguyen arrived, she said. Jerry Nguyen became enraged when he pulled up to her condo and saw Pouncey in her garage as the garage door was closing.

Lauren Nguyen said that Jerry Nguyen began yelling at her as soon as she he arrived and used racial slurs to describe Pouncey, who is black.

Lauren Nguyen“I said, ‘you need to calm down, you’re trippin’,’” Lauren Nguyen testified.

Lauren Nguyen said that Jerry Nguyen began pounding on the closed garage door, yelling at Pouncey.

That’s when Pouncey opened the garage door, Lauren Nguyen said.

“Before the door was even halfway up, he ducks under it to go in. I tried to pull him back out,” she said. “I had my hands on his shoulder, I had my hands on his shirt, trying to get him back to his car. He rushed in and just started yelling and threatening.”

Pouncey never said a word during the exchange, Lauren Nguyen said.

“Jerry keeps acting like he’s going to punch him,” Lauren Nguyen said. She heard Jerry mention something about a gun, and then saw Pouncey with a gun pointed at her ex-husband.

Pouncey fired three shots, Lauren Nguyen said.

“I was trying to push Jerry back after the first shot, but he kept going toward him,” she said. “… I ran around the corner, and there were two more shots.”

Lauren Nguyen said Jerry Nguyen staggered out of the garage before falling face-first onto the driveway.

“I started screaming and went for my phone,” she said. “Orlando said, ‘I thought he was going to kill me. I’m sorry. Where are his keys?'”

Nguyen visited Pouncey while on the run

Pouncey ran off and wasn’t seen by authorities for nearly two weeks, police said. Nguyen testified that she visited Pouncey more than once while he was on the run from the police.

They spent the night together twice in hotels in Washington, and on the day of his arrest, Feb. 9, Lauren Nguyen said she picked him up and drove him to a family member’s house in Spanaway, near Tacoma.

Nguyen testified that she had lied to the police about knowing where Pouncey was in the weeks before his arrest.

After dropping Pouncey off at the family member’s home, Nguyen parked in a church parking lot nearby, and was approached by U.S. Marshals when she walked back to her car.

“They asked what I was doing there, and I said that I was looking for where I had gotten into an accident,” Lauren Nguyen said. “That was one of the things I told them. I told them I didn’t know where he was.”

After Pouncey’s arrest, Lauren Nguyen continued to have contact with him, even using a fake name to chat with him via video conference call.

Nguyen at first said she didn’t remember why she had used the false name, but said that the name she used was that of a friend.

“I used her account because it was already established,” she said. “I’m not sure why? Maybe I didn’t want to use my account for some reason, or my account was messed up.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Roger Hanlon, the lead prosecutor, said that in the recorded calls, Nguyen did more than use someone else’s account to log in, but pretended to be the other woman during the call in order to fool people.

Several times throughout her testimony, Lauren Nguyen said she had trouble recalling details and asked to take a break to compose herself.

“That night was traumatic,” Nguyen said. “You’re asking me to recall small details prior to something so major. It all seemed so insignificant to something else (that happened later that night).”

Hanlon had a different theory for her faulty memory.

“Are you just making this up as you going along?” he asked Lauren Nguyen.

“No,” Nguyen answered. “I’m trying to calm down.”

After closing arguments, jurors will begin deliberation. Pouncey is charged with murder, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor
The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood
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