Trial begins for Laurel man accused in Ellicott City double shooting

The trial of the North Laurel man accused in the double shooting of his estranged girlfriend and her friend at an Ellicott City salon last year began in Howard County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Tuan Minh Pham, 36, of the 9300 block of Somersby Court, faces two counts of attempted first- and second-degree murder, assault and firearms charges in connection with the July 14, 2012 incident that occurred at Hair Care Spa at the Shipley’s Grant shopping center in the 5700 block of Richards Valley Road.

Both victims, who survived the shooting, were transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition. Kirwan said Pham eluded police for eight months after the incident by hiding in Virginia. He turned himself into police on Mar. 15.

At opening statements Wednesday, prosecutor Lisa Broten told the jury there was an active Prince George’s County protective order that prohibited Pham from contacting his former girlfriend and possessing a firearm during the time of the shooting, Kirwan said.

The couple were parents of two daughters. Kirwan said Broten also stated that Pham confronted the second victim, a man, because he thought it was his estranged girlfriend's boyfriend. 

Defense attorney Howard Cardin told jurors to keep common sense in mind as the case would unfold, Kirwan said. Cardin also said demands were made on Pham to come to the salon that day and that Pham and his family had been the subjects of numerous threats and acts of violence, according to Kirwan. 

The trial, before Judge William V. Tucker, is expected to take a week, Kirwan said. 

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