Couple entangled in homicide case pleads not guilty

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A couple allegedly involved in the stabbing death of a man on New Year’s Day has pleaded not guilty to the charges against them

During an arraignment last Monday, Kong Lingyang, 34, pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery before Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto Naraja. His girlfriend, Yi Lyuqin, 53, pleaded not guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact.

Following the arraignment, Naraja assigned the homicide case to Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho. Naraja ordered the two to appear before Camacho for a case management conference on March 2 at 10am. In addition, he ordered the parties to advise the court whether the matter will be disposed of by a change of plea, trial, or other disposition.

Last Monday, Kong and Yi appeared in court in the custody of the Department of Corrections via videoconference.

Kong was represented by assistant public defender Emily Thomsen while Yi was represented by Matthew Holley. Interpreters were also provided to the defendants. Assistant attorney general Steve Kessel appeared for the government.

According to court documents, the couple was arrested in the early hours of Jan. 1 for their alleged involvement in the stabbing murder of Li SongZhi.

Kong allegedly stabbed Li multiple times following an altercation between the two that stemmed from an altercation between their girlfriends.

Li suffered multiple injuries to his upper body with lacerations on his head, neck, and upper torso and puncture wounds to his chest and rib cage.

In a statement from Kong, he said he became angry when Li was assaulting him, causing him to reach for the pocket knife in his right back pocket. He claims he stopped after two stabs after seeing Li’s shirt soaked in blood.

After the stabbing, Kong said that Yi told him to run but he didn’t. As they were approached by police at Smile Massage, Kong said he realized that the knife was gone from his pocket and assumed that Yi had taken it and left.

Meanwhile, after arresting Yi, she told police in a separate interview that Kong and Li were scuffling on the ground for a while before she pulled Kong off from Li. As she and Kong left Li lying on the ground, police pulled up and began talking to Kong. She said that’s when she saw a pocket knife sticking out of Kong’s back pocket and pulled it out and hid it behind a typhoon shutter near King’s Jewelry.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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