In October 2019, Sheila Marie Ritze of San Juan Capistrano and Hoang Xuan Le of Fountain Valley took Tri “James” Minh Dao on a late-night lobster fishing trip in Dana Point Harbor—or so Dao thought.
Le shot Dao, who owed him money. Investigators say Dao fell overboard from Ritze’s boat, and Ritze and Le left the man to die in the Pacific Ocean.
For her actions, Ritze, 42, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on Monday, April 17
At the hearing, United States District Judge David O. Carter said Ritze’s conduct was “horrific” and “horrendous” and exhibited “callousness,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“At the conclusion of a 12-day trial in April 2022, a federal jury found Ritze guilty of one count of second-degree murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of making false statements to federal investigators,” the Department of Justice said.
Le was found guilty of first-degree murder in December 2021. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 17, where he faces a mandatory life sentence.
Ritze reportedly made false claims that she never had met Dao prior to the October murder when interviewed by federal investigators in December 2019, even though the two had been in Las Vegas together 11 days prior.
“Ritze’s crime has left a grieving mother, grieving widow, grieving brothers, a grieving sister, and two fatherless small children,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum. “Ritze continued on with her life after murdering Dao as though nothing had happened, continuing to party with Le … and assisting Le with tracking (the victim’s) grieving widow with GPS trackers.”