General Crime

* Pongsony Patrick Khaoone Gets 15 Year Prison Sentence for Kidnapping of Terry Au

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One of three defendants in a gang-related kidnapping-for-ransom case that investigators say prompted the 2008 murder of a witness was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Sonoma County Superior Court this morning. Pongsony Patrick Khaoone, 22, of Santa Rosa, pleaded guilty earlier this year to kidnapping and a gang enhancement in exchange for the 15-year-term, Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner said. Co-defendants Boonlak Phanchanh, 23, and Perry Khaoone, 26, both of Santa Rosa, also pleaded guilty earlier this year to kidnapping and a gang enhancement. All three were charged with abducting Terry Au, 24, from his Santa Rosa home on Oct. 1, 2007. Santa Rosa police said the three men beat Au, strangled him with a cord, burned him in the face with a cigarette and threatened to cut off his fingers. Phanchanh faces a 13-year term when he is sentenced on Wednesday and Perry Phonguan Khaoone, 25, faces 18 years at his sentencing on July 19, Waner said. As part of the plea agreements, robbery, burglary and other charges against the men will be dismissed.At a preliminary hearing, Au testified he was kidnapped and beaten because he did not want to provide drugs for the Khaoones. Au’s brother, Vutha Au, 24, was kidnapped and killed March 2, 2008. His body was found at Blind Beach on the Sonoma Coast. Vutha Au had agreed to testify against the three kidnapping-for-ransom defendants, the  Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said. Five men, including Preston Phongsuvane Khaoone, 23, the Khaoones’ brother, have been charged with Vutha Au’s murder and with killing a witness to prevent his testimony. All are alleged Asian Boyz gang members. Their trial is pending. The other murder defendants are Tyrone Tay, 28, a Solano County resident; David Prak, 21, and his brother Sarith Prak, 23, and Quentin Russell, 26, all of Santa Rosa. Vutha Au was shot nine times in the head, neck and torso. His body was found in a parking lot by a state parks ranger.  He had been placed in the California Witness Relocation and Assistance Program in anticipation of his testimony at the kidnapping for ransom trial but he had returned to the Santa Rosa area.

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