The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a lower court verdict to sentence a farmer to 25 years in jail for the murder of a 36-year-old woman in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district in 2013.
The murder took place at about 4am on July 16, 2013 at the victim’s house, which was located in Treng Trayoeng commune, in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district.
Presiding Judge Soeung Phanhavuth identified him as Khorn Sophea, 45, a farmer from Treng Trayoeng commune, in Kampong Speu province. The victim was identified as Ty Sokhy, 36, a pork vendor from the same commune as the convict.
Judge Phanhavuth said that Mr Sophea was charged with intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstance following his arrest on July 17, 2013.
Judge Phanhavuth noted that on the day of the victim’s murder, a group of about five unidentified men broke into the victim’s house after her husband had just left to kill pigs at a farm nearby to sell.
“When they entered the victim’s house, they caught the victim and beat her, causing serious injuries,” he said. “After beating her until she was unconscious, they stole her properties and fled.”
The thieves stole jewellery and cash worth a total of $15,000, he added.
Judge Phanhavuth said that after some of the men left, the victim’s daughter, Sim Sreykar, 14, woke up and turned on the lights and saw Mr Sophea. He held her down and beat her, causing serious injuries, before he fled, he added.
Judge Phanhavuth noted that Ms Sokhy died on the way to the hospital.
He said that Mr Sophea was arrested at about 11pm on July 17, 2013 in his house after Ms Sreykar was able to identify him along with evidence from the crime scene that linked him to the incident. When searching his house, police found his t-shirt that had the victim’s blood on it, he noted.
Judge Phanhavuth said that on September 16, 2015, Kampong Speu Provincial Court convicted Mr Sophea and sentenced him to 25 years in jail. He appealed to the Appeal Court, which on September 18 last year upheld his sentence.
“Based on the trial and after the judges’ council has checked other related documents and laws in consideration of the case, the court understands that the judgement of the Appeal Court was right and made in accordance with the law,” Judge Phanhavuth said. “Therefore the Supreme Court has decided to uphold the conviction as effective and close his appeal.”
Speaking outside the court, Mr Sophea said the judgement was unjust, adding that he was not involved in the crime or killed the victim as police and the court have convicted him.
Mr Sophea added that he entered the house after he heard the victim shouting when the group of men were robbing the house, noting that he did not know who the real killers were.