NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY)– An escaped juvenile convicted of killing an LSU student from New Iberia while on the run will spend the next 40 years in prison. Jayden Vongchanh’s sentencing come nearly three years after he shot and killed 19-year-old Liam McDuff.
Vongchanh was 15 years old when he escaped a Baton Rouge juvenile center in October of 2020. He was previously convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree battery.
In December of 2020, Vongchanh was still on the run when he went to a party in New Iberia and killed McDuff.
“I sent him a message on the phone that LSU won, and I got a heart around the message that he got it. He was happy. That’s the last message I got from him, last anything,” Liam McDuff’s father, James McDuff recalled.
Liam’s father said he was at the party, not even a mile from their home in New Iberia. He and his friends were celebrating finishing their first semester of college. Late in the night, Vongchanh showed up after finding the address on social media.
Vongchanh’s group became disruptive and were asked to leave. As Vongchanh was getting in the car to leave, he pulled out a handgun and shot Liam McDuff in the chest.
“Liam had been in the back of the barn. He didn’t know what was going on. He kind of stumbled up upon the thing. Most of his friends say he didn’t know. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t escorting these boys out,” his father said.
Liam died hours later, and Vongchanh made a post on social media boasting.
He was arrested two days later, and Liam’s family learned Vongchanh had been on the run after escaping from a juvenile facility two months prior.
“He should have been incarcerated, but he wasn’t. So I don’t know what to say,” Liam’s father told News 10. “It’s the state of Louisiana. We were told the state just doesn’t have the manpower and resources to, I guess, police the juvenile facilities like they should because I think they said he walked right out the front door.”
Vongchanh would later be tried as an adult for Liam’s death. Two weeks ago, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison for manslaughter. He will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
“For the crime that he was convicted of, that’s the maximum. I think my sons in a better place than Mr. Vongchangh. He’s in a much better place,” James McDuff said.
Now Liam’s parents honor his life with the ‘Live Like Liam‘ foundation.
The foundation raises money for kids in Iberia Parish and helps local high schools and organizations like the Girls and Boys Club.
“We try to make life a little better for some kids and a little happier. We’ve done a lot in the community. We’re proud of it. In his name,” James McDuff said.
“We wish he was here, and we wish he would be able to live his life out,” he added.
Liam would have graduated from LSU this may. Instead of celebrating his graduation, his parents held Live Like Liam’s annual golf tournament and raised money for Liam’s foundation.