DATE:  March 19, 2019

CASE:  Souksavanh Phetvongkham (Case #17FE005490)

PROSECUTOR:  Deputy District Attorney Matt Chisholm, Homicide Unit

The Honorable Gerrit Wood sentenced Souksavanh Phetvongkham to 56 years to life in prison.  On February 5, 2019, a jury convicted Phetvongkham of the first-degree murder of Mario Benitez-Gallegos.  The jury also found that Phetvongkham personally used a deadly weapon during the murder.  An allegation that Phetvongkham suffered a prior strike conviction for aggravated felony assault was determined to be true at the sentencing hearing.

The victim and Souksavanh Phetvongkham had been friends until a recent falling-out.  A mutual friend of the two gave a ride to Phetvongkham.  During that ride, the two stopped and picked-up the victim.  Phetvongkham and the victim agreed to fight and got out of the car.  During the fight, Phetvongkham stabbed the victim multiple times, including a stab wound to the heart.  The victim was taken to a hospital by his friend, but he died from blood loss.