Man ‘executed’ over parking space at Lenox Square. Shooter gets life in prison without parole


A judge sentenced a man responsible for a deadly shooting over a parking space at Lenox Square to life in prison without parole.

The sentence is more than what the prosecution requested. In court, the judge called the killing an “execution”.

Ricky LaFargue shot and killed Thuan Nguyen in the mall parking lot in March 2020.

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Fulton County Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney John Weitnauer told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne the murder happened because of what should have been a minor dispute over a parking spot.

Weitnauer says he used a large diagram of the parking lot at Lenox Square along with mall surveillance video and other evidence to explain to the jury what happened.

He says he recommended a sentence of life with the possibility of parole due to LaFargue’s age. He was 19 at the time of the murder and did not have an adult criminal record.

But Judge Alice Benton exceeded that and ordered he serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus five years.

“On the count of murder I am going to sentence you to life without the possibility of parole,” Benton said. “This case is particularly disturbing. It was described by witnesses to the murder as an execution. It was pure evil with a gun pointed to the back of that victim’s head when you pulled the trigger and killed the man, leaving his family and his child with no father.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gave Winne her reaction to the sentence.

“I’m pleased with it. I understand why the judge gave the sentence that she gave,” Willis said.

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Weitnauer says an SUV carrying LaFargue and four others zipped into a parking space that Nguyen and his girlfriend had been waiting on to open up.

Nguyen and LaFargue’s group went to the mall food court. Prosecutors believe Nguyen, unarmed and outnumbered, must’ve seen them leaving and followed them out.

During the confrontation, LaFargue, who had a gun in a sling bag, circled behind Nguyen and shot him moments later.

LaFargue’s group left in an SUV but quickly crashed and LaFargue ran off leaving the gun and a hat with his DNA behind.

“The defense was Mr. LaFargue took out the weapon, attempted to strike the victim, and the gun accidentally went off. A defense which the jury evidently rejected but that I believe will hold water on appeal,” defense attorney Patrick Brackley said.

Weitnauer says that on the witness stand, LaFargue claimed Nguyen initiated a fistfight with a member of LaFargue’s party and that man, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to police under the first offender act, also made that claim on the stand.

But none of the state’s independent witnesses backed those claims up.

“There’s no evidence that Mr. Nguyen ever threw any punches at Mr. LaFargue,” Weitnauer said.

“It was senseless. There were multiple people around. It was in broad daylight,” prosecutor Danielle Russell said.

Willis said Lenox Square has upgraded its security since the shooting in 2020.

“I know we have people that are saying well they won’t go to popular spots in Atlanta. I’m not willing to give up any of Atlanta to include Lenox Mall,” Willis said. “We think that Lenox has taken great steps since this case. I plan to continue to shop there. I want my constituents to continue to shop there. And I’m gonna work with law enforcement to make sure that we keep that a safe environment.”

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