The Kampot Provincial Court on Tuesday charged a 24-year-old farmer with last week’s rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Chhuk district, police said.
Sat Nou is accused of raping the girl last week just meters away from her home and beating her to death with a fence post. Her parents discovered her body in their rice field last Wednesday.
“After questioning, the investigating judge, Khov Chanthou, charged the suspect with premeditated murder,” said Lok Nav, deputy chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.
The suspect is also charged with rape and will face life in prison if he is found guilty, he said, adding that he had been sent to the provincial prison in the afternoon.
“[But] he still claims that he doesn’t know what happened.” Mr. Nav said. “Even if he does not confess to the crime, police and the court have enough evidence to inculpate him; he is the sole suspect in the case.”
Three other people were arrested following the attack, including Mr. Nou’s younger brother, who was seen with the victim on the day of the crime—all were later released once Mr. Nou was identified as the sole suspect.
James McCabe, director of operations for the Child Protection Unit, which cooperated on the investigation, said on Monday that police had sufficient evidence linking Mr. Nou to the crime and that he evaded capture for several days, telling police he had been out chopping wood.
“The weapon that caused the… skull fractures was taken from the suspect’s home residence,” he said, referring to a wooden post that police say was snapped off his fence.
Mr. McCabe also said a palm frond covered in blood was found at the scene of the crime, and could be matched to a tree at his home.
“There is some strong evidence to support the arrest of this individual, so we are not reliant solely on DNA,” he said. The results of the DNA tests, which have been sent to Vietnam, are due back in two weeks, he added.
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