Life Sentences for Two Convicted in Robbery Murder

A pair of armed robbers convicted of fatally shooting a university student who tried ram one of the men with his car in an effort to protect his sister and fiance from an attack were sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

The defendants, Oum Suosdey, 33 and Chan Dararith, 27, also were each fined 5 million riel, or about $1,250, by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Presiding Judge Chuon Soreasey.

The student, Chan Sokchea, 24, was shot four times on January 21 in the city’s Chamkar Mon district after driving his car into a man who was beating and robbing his sister, Chan Sreypor and his fiancee, Neth Sothearoath at the front door of his house in Tumnop Toek commune.

The men had arrived on motorbikes and attempted to snatch the women’s belongings, police said. Video footage from a security camera showed Ms. Sreypor, 18, and Ms. Sothearoath, 22, being attacked by two men wearing motorcycle helmets.

After leaving courtroom, Mr. Dararith said the sentence was too lengthy.

“I had confessed to the court, they should reduce the sentence,” he said. “It is very serious for me because I won’t have a chance to be freed and correct myself.”

The defendants’ lawyer, Mon Vimean Champa, said her clients will appeal the verdict as the sentence was excessive.

“It’s serious for them because they don’t have the intention” she said. “It’s robbery without intention, so between 15 to 30 years, it’s fair.” 

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