Cedar Rapids Man Pleads To Lesser Charges In Neighbors' Shooting

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

Joseph Pham looks to his family as he is lead out of the courtroom after his bond hearing at the Linn County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Pham is charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Richard Pratt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A Cedar Rapids man accused of shooting his neighbors in 2012 pleaded guilty Monday to lesser charges and faces up to seven years in prison.

Joseph Pham pleaded guilty to amended charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a felony, and reckless use of a firearm, an aggravated misdemeanor. He will also have to pay restitution which will be determined later.

According to a plea agreement, he faces a mandatory five years in prison on the felony charge and two years for the misdemeanor and those sentences will run consecutively for a total of up to seven years.

Pham was originally charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, but a mental evaluation found Pham with diminished capacity, and those charges will be dismissed at sentencing.

Pham admitted during the hearing to shooting multiple times at his neighbor's home. The next door neighbors, Brian Wilson, 39, his daughter Jayde Wilson and Tracy Moses were inside the home at the time of the incident, and Brian Wilson was hit three times and seriously wounded.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Nic Scott said according to case law, if someone is found with diminished capacity the state cannot charge the person with a "specific intent" crime, such as attempted murder, because they are incapable of intending to cause a death.

Members of Pham’s family told The Gazette after the shooting they have been subjected to racial harassment for years because they are Vietnamese, first by Moses’ ex-husband when he lived in the home, and then by Brian Wilson.

According to police records, there were several complaint calls made in 2012 by both neighbors against the other including: loud music, rude gestures, broken windows, a battered mailbox, and feces thrown.

Pham's sentencing is set Feb. 18, in Linn County District Court.
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