Jury rejects murder charge, finds teen guilty of manslaughter Jury rejects murder charge, finds teen guilty of manslaughter Jury rejects murder and finds manslaughter charge
Lowell teenager Billeoum Phan, now 16, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Samnang Oth, 21, of Chelsea. Phan was the one of the youngest defendants ever in Massachusetts to face a murder charge.
According to police reports, at approximately 11:18 p.m. on August 12, 2006, Lowell Police responded to 40 Royal Street in Lowell for reports of shots fired.
Although the initial investigation determined that a gang-related fight broke out at a birthday party at the Royal Street residence, the defense investigation showed that the police failed to interview dozens of witnesses. Moreover, several witnesses were called by Phan to testify to the terrifying specter of rocks and bottles raining into the first floor apartment, where several young women, including one pregnant woman, sought shelter. The defense argued that Phan was acting in self-defense when he fired the gun and hit Oth.
Defense counsel Jack Cunha represented Phan, with John Nardizzi leading the defense investigation.
The judge sentenced Phan to DYS custody until the age of 21 for the voluntary manslaughter conviction. Then Phan will have have a suspended five-year state-prison sentence and probation after his release.