Fort Smith Man Found Not Guilty In Murder Case, Officials Say
FORT SMITH (KFSM) – A Fort Smith man was found not guilty by a jury in a murder case on Thursday (Sept. 11), officials say.
Kevyphonh Sounyaphong, 60, was arrested and later charged with first-degree murder in the investigation of Sakounsouk Vilayhong’s death after she was found strangled in her home on January 24, 2013.
Sounyaphong told 5NEWS while he was being led to the detention center in handcuffs after his initial arrest that he did not kill the victim. When asked if he knew who strangled the victim, he said, “I have no idea.”
In April, a mistrial was declared after questions were raised about a Vietnamese translator’s interpretation of a witness that gave testimony during the trial.
The victim was found by her husband after he returned from work, and emergency crews said Vilayhong was found lying on the living room floor. They pronounced her dead at the scene.
An investigation showed Vilayhong spent the majority of the day at the Choctaw Casino in Poteau. She arrived at the casino at 8:30 a.m. and left at 1:50 p.m.
An autopsy showed Vilayhong’s time of death was placed at between 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
The suspect initially denied going to the casino, but he later told police he was there all of Jan. 24 and into the morning of Jan. 25. An investigation later showed that Sounyaphong left the casino on the afternoon of Jan. 24, around the same time the victim did.
Detectives were able to match DNA of hairs found at the crime scene to Sounyaphong’s DNA profile, after which, an arrest warrant was issued.