MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota family is reeling after the man who killed Phanny Phay was found not guilty due to mental illness.

“I’m very angry about this, very, very, very sad,” said Narann Phay, the 28-year-old medical student’s uncle.

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Narann Phay spoke passionately Sunday about his niece’s life.

She was smart, studying medicine at the University of Minnesota.

But police say her boyfriend, Andre Duprey, stabbed and shot her in November after an apparent psychotic episode.

It was decided in court last week that he will not go to prison.

Instead, he’s being sent to a psychiatric facility.

Phanny Phay was the center of a large Cambodian family who came here for opportunity.

She was about to become a doctor when she was killed.

“He just took her life, just took everybody’s life here,” Narann Phay said. “The family, the whole family.”

The court decided the killing was not intentional.

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Duprey was acquitted due to mental illness evaluations.

Sue Abderholden, the head of National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, says such acquittals are rare.

“It’s actually that your mental illness is so strong that you don’t know the difference between right or wrong,” she said.

Abderholden says she hurts deeply for Phay’s family and doesn’t think what happened could have been stopped.

She says it does bring up an important conversation.

“If somebody isn’t doing well, it really is important to get all of the weapons out of the home,” she said. “You just don’t want them there, for being a danger to others and also a danger to self.”

Phay’s family says that it just doesn’t seem fair that a young woman with so much to give had it all taken away.

“It’s just not fair,” Narann Phay said. “I don’t know how the system works, but it’s just not fair.”

Mental Health Resources:

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Crisis Text Line: 741741
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255
— Metro Children’s Crisis Response: 651-266-7878
— Ramsey County Housing & Shelter Information: 651-215-2262

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield