Guilty verdict in Tacoma high school murder

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by By DEAN STALEY / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 18 at 11:26 AM

Video: Guilty verdict in Foss High School murder

TACOMA , Wash. - A Tacoma man was found guilty Wednesday of shooting a classmate to death at Foss High School two years ago.

From the beginning, the question wasn't whether 20-year-old Douglas S. Chanthabouly committed the crime, but whether he was sane when it happened.

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury didn't buy it.

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It was January 3, 2007 - the first day back from winter break. Before the first bell rang, Chanthabouly walked up to 17-year-old Samnang Kok and shot him in the face with a pistol. As Kok lay on the floor, Chanthabouly shot him two more times.

In court, Chanthabouly's attorney argued that his client was a paranoid schizophrenic that didn't know what he was doing.

The prosecution agreed that Chanthabouly suffered from mental illness, but insisted he knew exactly what he was doing when he pulled the trigger.

"There were some difficulties with the defense they presented. Their own expert agreed that he knew it was wrong to commit the act," said prosecutor Ed Murphy.

In the end, the jury agreed.

"Did the crime involve a destructive and foreseeable impact on people other than the victim? The answer is, yes," said Judge Ronald Culpepper.

That part of the jury's verdict has to do with the fact that Chanthabouly committed the murder at school. That's an aggravating factor. It means he could get 15 to 28 years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 1.

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