Court accepts amended charges vs man in New Year’s Day stabbing


The Superior Court has accepted the Office of the Attorney General’s proposed amended charges against a man accused of being involved in this year’s New Year’s Day stabbing.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho accepted last Friday the OAG’s amended charges against Kong Ling Yang, who allegedly stabbed dead Li SongZhi on New Year’s Day.

Kong, who was initially charged with second degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery, is now charged with just one count of manslaughter.

The difference between murder, at any degree, and manslaughter is the sentence. A person convicted of murder can be sentenced up to a lifetime in prison while manslaughter is not more than 10 years. In addition, murder is defined as the crime of killing an individual with malice while manslaughter is the crime of killing of an individual without malice.

Kong’s girlfriend Yi Lyuqin, remains charged with accessory after the fact.

According to assistant attorney general Steven Kessell in his motion for leave to amend, after filing the initial information against Kong with the court, he and Kong’s counsel, Vina Seelam, entered into a settlement negotiation which resulted in the filing of a notice of plea agreement on May 17.

However, in anticipation of the defendant pleading guilty to manslaughter, Kessell said an amended information needs to be filed so the charging information document is consistent with the plea agreement. Kessell explained to the court that allowing the prosecution to amend the information would merely change a charge and the defendant would not suffer prejudice.

“The Commonwealth has previously provided the defendant with full discovery and disclosure regarding the offense as required by Commonwealth law,” he stated.

According to court documents, Kong 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 left ribcage.

In a statement from Kong at the scene, he stated that he had been drinking with Li when Li’s girlfriend started “talking bad” to Kong’s girlfriend, which led to the physical altercation between the two men.

Kong told police at the scene that, during the fight, Li’s girlfriend got hit as she attempted to intervene, prompting Kong to pick up an object from the ground and begin stabbing Li. When asked about the type of object he used to stab Li, Kong said he could not recall.

However, in a follow up interview with Kong at around 6:40pm on Jan. 1, he said he got angry when Li was assaulting him, causing him to reach for the pocket knife in his right back pocket. He claims he decided to stop after two stabs after seeing Li’s shirt soaked in blood.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores 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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.