The Tennessee man who confessed to fatally shooting a woman in 1994 during a botched robbery attempt learned his fate in court this week.
According to WREG, Phanhsay Phanivong, then 16, shot Angela Perkins, 23, to death in East Memphis as she drove home from work. The case remained cold until 2014 when an inmate serving time for an unrelated homicide reportedly told police that Phanivong, now 40, and Sathit Ep, now 40, were involved in the Valentine’s Day slaying.
The Commercial Appeal reported that Phanivong intended to rob Perkins of a car radio but Perkins tried to drive off. On the night in question, a dispatcher received a call from a woman who said she “couldn’t talk.” The cell phone call was unable to be traced and police who were dispatched to the nearby intersection found no sign of the woman.
It wasn’t until the next morning when a passerby found Perkins dead in a parking lot near her Mazda RX-7. Her cell phone was off the hook, according to the newspaper.
Ngoc Baoco “Ice” Huyn, who tipped off police, testified that Phanivong bragged to him about the fatal shooting days later, presenting him with a newspaper article and saying he “made the news.” Defense attorneys argued that Huyn was a “proven liar” and that his testimony was the only thing that linked their client to the crime.
According to The Commercial Appeal, Phanivong reportedly went back to Murfreesboro after the murder and became a graduate student and father.
Phanvong spent five years behind bars before pleading guilty to second-degree murder. As a result, he’s immediately eligible for parole because he’s served more than 30 percent of the 15-year sentence he was handed on Tuesday. In a news release, prosecutors said Phanvong was sentenced under the laws that were in place at the time of the 1994 murder.
Ep, his alleged accomplice, is facing felony murder charges. He remains free on $25,000 bond.
[Featured image: Phanhsay Phanivong, Shelby County District Attorney/handout]