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Jury convicts Alabama dad of throwing 4 kids off bridge

  • Story Highlights
  • Lam Luong, 38, admitted throwing the children off the Dauphin Island bridge
  • Prosecutors said Luong threw the kids so he could see the look on wife's face
  • The four children ranged in age from 3 years to 4 months
  • The sentencing phase of Luong's trial will begin Friday
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(CNN) -- After deliberating for only 45 minutes, a jury convicted an Alabama man Thursday of throwing his four children off a Gulf Coast bridge in January 2008, according to prosecutors.

Lam Luong, 38, admitted throwing the children, who ranged in age from 3 years to 4 months, off the Dauphin Island bridge south of Mobile, according to CNN affiliate WKRG.

Charged with five counts of capital murder, he changed his plea to guilty last week. However, Alabama law requires that all capital cases go before a judge and jury, WKRG said.

The sentencing phase of Luong's trial will begin Friday, the Mobile County District Attorney's office told CNN.

Jurors will decide whether he should receive the death penalty or life in prison without parole. A judge is not bound by the jury's decision, however, and Alabama law requires an automatic appeal in capital cases.

Luong and his wife were having marital difficulties, prosecutors said.

WKRG reported that during opening arguments in the trial, prosecutors told jurors Luong threw the kids off the bridge so he could see the look on his wife's face.

Luong was on crack at the time, and he told investigators they could charge him if they found the children's bodies before breaking into laughter, jurors were told.

The defense called no witnesses, but told jurors Luong was intoxicated at the time and was incapable of forming the necessary intent to be convicted of a capital offense, asking them to convict him of manslaughter, WKRG said.

During the trial, jurors heard about the search for the children's bodies and saw graphic video of the bodies floating in the water, the station reported.

A commercial fisherman recording rough weather off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, found one body, while two duck hunters and a Mississippi marine officer found the other three, according to WKRG.

Luong looked down, away from the overhead screens, when the photographs of the children's bodies were shown.

CNN's Divina Mims contributed to this report.

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