Woman Gets 15 Years for Murder of Paraplegic

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old woman to 15 years in prison for the aggravated murder of a paraplegic man when she attempted to rob his home in Prampi Makara district.

The defendant, Mak Vannthy, was also ordered to pay 30 million riel, or about $7,500, to the family of Phan Sophanara, who was 22 years old in April 2012 when Ms. Vannthy broke into his house, slit his throat and stabbed him multiple times in the torso, presiding Judge Chaing Sinath said.

“The court sentenced the suspect after finding her guilty of aggravated murder and ordered her to compensate Chan Bophaphuong, who is the mother of the victim and the plaintiff in this case,” she said.

During the trial, Ms. Vannthy admitted to killing the victim—who as a teenager was left paralyzed from the waist down following a botched medical procedure—but said she acted in self-defense after he tried to rape her. She also admitted to stealing his television after she killed him.

Defense lawyer Nguon Vannary, who had earlier requested that the charge be changed to manslaughter, said his client could not accept the verdict and could not afford to pay the compensation.

“I will discuss an appeal soon because both the sentence and the compensation are too much for my client,” he said.

In a separate case, 50-year-old Sam Choeun was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the aggravated murder of school principal Sry Chaykim, 63, who bled to death after he was stabbed in the abdomen outside Tuol Sleng primary school on June 23.

Mr. Choeun, who had been begging students for money outside the school, admitted during his hearing earlier this month that he had stabbed the victim accidentally, but said he only intended to deter the principal’s aggressive attempts to force him away from the school.

“I waved my knife up and down, but I did not directly chop Mr. Chaykim,” he said in the hearing.

“My client confessed to stabbing the victim and has not asked me to appeal the case,” said his defense lawyer, Neang Hai, after the sentencing.

© 2013, All rights reserved.