A former administrator employed at the Senate was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison yesterday after being convicted in absentia for the murder of his 60-year-old wife.
Kun Sokhay, 34, remains in hiding more than two years after he killed his wife Tith Vannak, who was also his adoptive mother, on September 9, 2012.
Sokhay’s girlfriend at the time of the killing, karaoke singer Dorn Chankaknika, 26, was yesterday acquitted of the same charges and released by the court.
Heng Kesaro, presiding judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said that “after clear consideration, in accordance with the penal code, the court has found that Dorn Chankaknika is not guilty. So the court decided to drop all charges against her and release her.”
Chankaknika said she was overjoyed yesterday at the court’s decision, but said she felt her long pre-trial detention was unjust.
“I am very happy, as the court has dropped the charges against me and released me. But for this case, I think that it was still an injustice for me, because I did not do anything wrong as I was accused.
However, I was arrested and jailed for more than two years,” she said. Chankaknika added that she did not intend to sue over her imprisonment.
Captain Khim Saravong, chief of police in Phnom Penh’s Niroth commune, where Vannak was found killed, said that a forensic examination had found that she had been raped before she was murdered.
He said police relied on phone records during their investigation. “Police identified the two accused after we checked the victim’s mobile phone and found that on the day that the victim was killed, [Chankaknika] telephoned the victim several times,” Saravong said.
Chankaknika was arrested on January 5, 2013, but Sokhay escaped and has yet to be arrested, he added.
Chankaknika said that she was the girlfriend of Sokhay at the time of the murder, but had been unaware that he had used her phone to call Vannak.
She had lent her phone to Sokhay for a month before the murder, she said. “I did not know that Kun Sokhay used my telephone to call the victim, or that the victim was killed,” she said. “I knew it only after I was arrested by the police.”
“I was at my house with my family while this [murder] was taking place,” she added.
Sokhay was also ordered to pay $10,000 to the victim’s family. His defence lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.