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People v. Sivongxxay

Filed 6/19/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S078895 v. ) ) VAENE SIVONGXXAY, ) ) Fresno County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. F97590200-2 ____________________________________) Following a bench trial, defendant and appellant Vaene Sivongxxay was convicted of one count of first degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187),1 13 counts of robbery (§§ 211, 212.5), and two counts of attempted robbery (§§ 664, 211, 212.5). The trial court found true the special circumstance allegation that defendant committed the murder during the commission of a robbery. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(A).) At the conclusion of the penalty phase bench trial, the court imposed a verdict of death. This appeal is automatic. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11, subd. (a); § 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment in its entirety. I. FACTS Defendant was tried jointly with codefendant Oday Mounsaveng. Both defendants were tried by a judge sitting without a jury. 1 All subsequent statutory references are to the Penal Code. SEE CONCURRING & DISSENTING OPINIONS A. Guilt Phase 1. Prosecution Evidence Defendant and Mounsaveng committed a series of robberies in Fresno between July and December 1996. a. Thanh Tin Jewelry Attempted Robbery On July 31, 1996, Mounsaveng walked into the Thanh Tin Jewelry store, asked to examine a gold chain, and then left. He returned with defendant about an hour later. The men looked around for a long time without buying anything. Liem Phu Huynh, the owner of the jewelry store, asked the men why they were taking so long. Mounsaveng and defendant claimed they were brothers and were waiting for their sister to arrive. Eventually, they left. When defendant and Mounsaveng returned to the store later that afternoon, Huynh was working in a back room, and his wife Phung Ngoc Ho was behind the sales counter. After asking to examine several items, Mounsaveng pulled a handgun out of his waistband, grabbed Ho by the collar, and pointed the gun at her. Huynh, who was watching from the back room, set off an alarm. Mounsaveng and defendant fled. b. First JMP Mini-Mart Robbery On the afternoon of August 16, 1996, Bobbie Her was working behind the counter at her parents‘ convenience store, JMP Mini-Mart. Mounsaveng entered and asked whether the store cashed checks. When Bobbie answered that it did, Mounsaveng left. He eventually returned with defendant, and the two men milled about the store. Bobbie‘s father Xeng Wang Her arrived and began restocking drinks in the store‘s refrigerator case. Defendant walked up to Xeng, pointed a handgun at him, and forced him to walk toward the cash register. Defendant then forced Xeng to lie down and kicked him in the back of the head. Meanwhile, Mounsaveng jumped over the counter and forced Bobbie to open the cash register. 2 Mounsaveng and defendant took all of the money in the store, ripped a cordless phone off the wall, and then fled in a blue pickup truck. c. Phnom Penh Jewelry Robbery On …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court