ACQUITTAL FOR TEEN IN DEATHS
3 OTHERS CONVICTED IN MARKET SLAYINGS

Published April 17, 1996 by Rebecca Taylor, Bee Staff Writer

The last of four Stockton teen-agers tried for double murder following a foiled robbery outside a west Modesto market in 1994 was acquitted Tuesday. Sambuon Mao, 19, was the sole defendant cleared.

"I think it was a just decision based on the lack of evidence," defense attorney Robert Forkner said following the ruling.

Authorities had claimed Mao and fellow gang members drove to Modesto to commit a robbery that ended in bloodshed.

Bounkong Nasravanh, 16, and Sengsong Soumpholphakdy, 17, were gunned down when their fellow gang members robbed a 14-year-old girl of a necklace and $5 as she was leaving the market at Tuolumne Boulevard and Roselawn Avenue.

But Stanislaus County Juvenile Court Commissioner John Hagan found Mao innocent of the double-murder and robbery charges that could have netted him a stay at the California Youth Authority until age 25.

Three of Mao's co-defendants in the case were tried as adults and convicted.

A judge last year sentenced Ty Toey, who is now 20, to 67 years to life in prison.

Viret Phim, now 18, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Sokha Toeum, now 20, was sentenced to 51 years to life.