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Man, 21, confesses to murdering girlfriend

Yen Sopanha, 21, who is charged with premeditated murder, photographed last year.
Yen Sopanha, 21, who is charged with premeditated murder, photographed last year. Photo supplied

Man, 21, confesses to murdering girlfriend

A 21-year-old man accused of murdering his girlfriend and dumping her body in a trash pile yesterday confessed to the crime during his trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, saying it took him about “15 minutes to strangle” her to death.

Yen Sopanha, who faces life imprisonment under the charge of premeditated murder, said he had asked his girlfriend, Keo Kanha, 19, a karaoke club worker, to pick him up at Klang Romsey market in Phnom Penh at around 2:30pm on November 15. He then persuaded her to go to his friend’s house in Sen Sok district.

“At 3pm, I strangled her to death with a cord while she was picking [up] her phone battery in front of the sofa,” he said in court. “It took about 15 minutes to strangle her.”

After the murder, the suspect wrapped the body in a blanket and dumped it in a trash pile, where a garbage collector discovered it the following day.

Sopanha had taken the victim’s bracelet, rings, mobile phone and motorbike, which he pawned for $320.

The suspect claimed he had “used too many drugs” on the day of the murder, and was dealing with problems at work because he had been accused of stealing $200.

In a strange twist, the victim’s mother, Seng Sary, asked the court to reduce the suspect’s punishment because Sopanha had “helped her family” after the murder.

His lawyer, Mun Vimeanchampa, asked the court to reduce the charge to murder, which allows for a lighter prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

A verdict is due September 20.

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