Ex-Calif. pharmacy student gets 6 years in prison for killing mom who urged him to be doctor

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A former pharmacy student who killed his elderly mother after she urged him to become a doctor has been sentenced to six years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

Richard Nguyen was sentenced Friday in Orange County after the judge heard pleas for leniency from his brother, aunt and a longtime friend of his mother.

A jury convicted the 31-year-old Garden Grove man in March for choking 71-year-old Nuong Nguyen in December 2008 after she issued him an ultimatum that he go to medical school because it was more prestigious. He wanted to finish pharmacy school. The choking triggered a fatal heart attack.

Relatives told the judge that Richard Nguyen had a long history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, due to a childhood of abuse.