|Monica Anderson (left) and Lan Anh Le (right)|
Monica Anderson (26) was brutally murdered by her roommate/lover Lan Anh Le (20) inside the apartment they shared on March 13th, 2010. The two young women met through mutual friends and had been living together in Sacramento, California for about six months prior to Monica’s death. The night of the murder, Monica and Lan spent the evening drinking alcohol and snorting lines of cocaine. Around 2:30am, an argument over a cellphone charger broke out inside the girls’ bedroom. Monica attempted to flee the apartment, but Lan chased her with a butcher knife and attacked her. Lan ultimately stabbed Monica 91 times. She then attempted to turn the knife on herself, but a friend was able to intervene until the police arrived.
Lan was ultimately charged with first degree murder. At the trial, prosecutors stated that Monica’s murder was a crime composed of “pettiness and ridiculousness,” and that Monica was “brutally murdered without any just reason at all.” A video was played to jurors of Lan admitting to the crime during police interrogation, during which she admits that she initially was angry with Monica for not handing over her cell phone charger. Lan is also heard saying, “[Monica] started running away from me, and that’s when it happened. I was just really pissed.”
Despite admitting to the crime, Lan plead not guilty to first degree murder. Her defense team argued that the crime occurred in the heat of the moment, and it was fueled by drugs. Lan had apparently been hooked on drugs since she was a teenager—after she suffered through a rough childhood. Lan’s defense attorneys explained that Lan was one of 10 children raised by Vietnamese refugees in Sacramento. Their living conditions were allegedly cramped and dangerous, and the children were trained to not speak to social workers who visited their home. Lan ended up hanging out with a “bad crowd” as she got older, and she got hooked on drugs by time she was 16. Lan eventually entered a group home for young women in an effort to put her life back together, but she unfortunately aged out of the system shortly after entering. Lan met Monica shortly after turning 18. Defense attorneys said that Lan looked up to Monica and they had a very passionate, albeit troubled, relationship. Lan’s lead attorney stated, “[Lan] loved Monica Anderson so much, but on March 13, 2010, when Lan was just 20 years old, she did something while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and emotion that she is never ever going to be able to take back.”
While prosecutors did not dispute that Lan had suffered through a troubled past, they argued that the murder was unnecessarily vicious and it was not the first known incident of violence between Lan and Monica. Months before Monica’s murder, she allegedly told her parents that Lan had blindly attacked her, which left her with multiple bruises and a black eye. Prosecutors argued that, on the night of the murder, Lan made the decision to chase Monica with a knife and stab her violently nearly 100 times. The jury ultimately agreed with the prosecution and found Lan guilty for first degree murder. She was sentenced to 25 years to life.