MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis man was sentenced Monday to more than four decades in prison for a crime the judge described as “senseless.”

Last June, Vone Moua, the owner of Malina’s bar in St. Paul, was shot to death at closing time. It happened after a dispute about a $20 refund for a pool table fee.

“What struck me the most about it is that it was so senseless, over $20,” said John Choi, the Ramsey County Attorney. “Here you have a victim who had his whole life in front of him. He was a husband, father, son and a brother.”

In February, 23-year-old Cheng Vang pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the case. He was sentenced to 41 years in prison.

The victim’s widow walked out of the Ramsey County Courthouse without comment on Monday. The morning of the shooting, however, she was seven months pregnant with Moua’s fifth child, and an eyewitness to the crime.

She, along with the victim’s mother and sisters, read aloud letters in court describing loss and pain.

Vang also made his feelings known in court. In a letter to the judge, read aloud by his attorney, he repeatedly said he was sorry and was aware of the harm and hardship he’d caused.

The gunman’s wife emerged from the courthouse deeply saddened as well.

“They lost their father, we lost a son, an uncle,” said Der Xiong, Vang’s wife. “He’s also a dad to my daughter as well. We know exactly how they feel, because we have lost someone, too.”

Forty-one years was not the maximum sentence that prosecutors sought, but it was close.

Vang’s brother in law was also convicted in the case. Yia Her will be sentenced in May on aiding and abetting second-degree murder.


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