A man who fatally strangled his girlfriend last year at a Phnom Penh guesthouse in what he and his lawyer characterized as a jealous rage was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court Presiding Judge Kor Vandy sentenced Chan Sopheak, 38, after he was convicted of illegal drug use and the premeditated murder of 22-year-old karaoke worker Ang Vanna.
Mr. Sopheak was arrested in October, a few days after an employee found Ang Vanna’s body at the O’Yes Guesthouse in Daun Penh district.
During a hearing earlier this month, Mr. Sopheak said the murder was an accident, but also admitted that he had previously threatened his partner. “I told her…. ‘If you betray me, I will kill you,’” he said. “She chatted with a guy in front of me, and I got angry. I covered her mouth and strangled her neck.”
Mr. Sopheak’s attorney, Kim Sambath, said on Tuesday that his client’s sentence for a crime of passion was unfair.
“This sentence is not suited to my client’s mistake,” he said. “My client is just a prisoner of love.”
Mr. Sambath said Mr. Sopheak had supported Ang Vanna financially, but became angry with her when she mocked him and hurt his feelings.
“He did not plan to kill his lover because they had slept with each other three times already and had a verbal argument. Then my client became violent, which led to her death,” he said.
Mr. Sambath said that he would let his client decide whether he would appeal the sentence.