The Superior Court has imposed a seven-year prison sentence on a man involved in the stabbing death of another man last New Year’s Day.
Kong Ling Yang, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter before Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho last Friday and was sentenced to an imprisonment term of seven years.
According to Camacho’s order, Kong is sentenced to the full seven years but will only serve the first two years and nine months day-for-day without possibility of parole or early release. The remainder of his sentence will be suspended but may be imposed if he violates any CNMI law.
In addition, the court also granted Kong credit for the 140 days he has already served in prison while awaiting trial.
Aside from the sentence, Kong was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,634 to the heirs of his victim, Li SongZhi, as other court fees and probationary fees.
Following his release from prison, Kong will be placed under probation for three years where he must strictly abide by CNMI laws and the court’s release conditions.
Kong was immediately remanded back to Department of Corrections custody to begin serving his sentence.
According to a previous article on the Saipan Tribune, Kong was initially charged with second degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery. It was later changed to just one count of manslaughter as part of the plea deal.
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 an individual without malice.
Court documents stated that Kong stabbed Li multiple times following an altercation between their girlfriends.
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.
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.