Long Beach Police Make Arrest In 2003 Murder - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/02/05

Long Beach Police Make Arrest In 2003 Murder

Wednesday, Long Beach Police arrested 19-year-old Dustin Berry for capital murder.

Berry, who was just 17 at the time of Lynda Pham's death, told police he went into the Pineville Mart to commit a robbery. He didn't realize he hit Pham hard enough to kill her.

Investigators have had their eyes on Berry since shortly after the murder, but they never had enough evidence to arrest him.

Since then, Berry has been in and out of jail for burglery. Police say, while behind bars, Berry talked to another inmate about killing Lynda Pham.

Long Beach Police Chief Harley Schinker told WLOX News that Berry has confessed to the crime.

For Lynda's parents, the past 15 months have been filled with questions and frustration. But they say they never lost hope that the killer would be found.

Her father, Quy Pham, told WLOX News, "When we heard that someone has been arrested for Lynda's murder, we were so happy, because we now know there's someone responsible for her death."

"My other daughter and my relatives have tried to persuade me to move away from here. But I refused to move, until I find out who killed my daughter. I haven't even touched her room," Lynda's mother, Ha Pham said.

The Phams say they are waiting for the day when they can look the suspect in the face, and ask him "why"?

"We want to ask him why he had to kill my little girl. Why he chased her to the point where her shoes and bracelets fell off, and then beat her," Ha said.

Despite feeling relieved, knowing a suspect is behind bars, the Phams say their lives will never be the same.

"I want to thank the police and all the people of Long Beach for their support. We will always be in pain for the rest of our lives, and you have to be in our situation to understand how that feels. It hurts," Ha said.

The Pham's sold the Pineville Mart shortly after their daughter was killed. Quy Pham has been working part time as a shrimper and Ha Pham hasn't worked since the murder.

And though life will never be the same for the Phams, Wednesday's arrest is one step toward closure.

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