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2 plead guilty in shooting

Third defendant pleads not guilty

By Dawn Schuett

schuett@postbulletin.com

Two of the three men charged in connection with the shooting death of a Rochester man in February pleaded guilty Wednesday in Olmsted District Court.

Samphan Roeun, 21, of Minneapolis, Viengvilay Phetsomphou, 22, of Rochester and Michael Hughes, 21, of Minneapolis were scheduled to appear for omnibus hearings before Judge Joseph Chase.

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Instead, Roeun and Phetsomphou reached plea agreements. Hughes waived his right to an omnibus hearing and entered a not guilty plea.

The men are accused of killing Samoeun Sam, 19, and injuring another man in a drive-by shooting Feb. 24 outside a northwest Rochester residence.

Roeun entered an "Alford" plea, allowing him to plead guilty to two charges without admitting guilt. The judge accepted Roeun's plea for attempted second-degree intentional murder and an amended charge of second-degree intentional murder in the course of a drive-by shooting. In the plea agreement, 12 other charges in a grand jury indictment against Roeun will be dismissed.

The defense and prosecution agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 39 years. Roeun could petition for parole after serving 30 years.

Roeun had faced first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder along with 12 other charges. If he had been convicted on those charges, he wouldn't have been allowed to seek parole for 40 years.

As part of the plea agreement, the remaining charges against Roeun were dismissed.

Phetsomphou pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the course of a drive-by shooting. As part of the plea agreement, the charge was amended from first-degree murder in the course of a drive-by shooting.

In exchange for the plea, 13 other charges in a grand jury indictment were dismissed against Phetsomphou. The defense and prosecution agreed to jointly recommend a prison sentence of 201⁄2; years. With good behavior, Phetsomphou would serve about 13 years in prison if the judge follows the recommendation at sentencing.

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Phetsomphou admitted in court Wednesday that he drove the getaway car during the shooting.

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