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Fort Smith strangulation case ends in mistrial

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 17, 2014 at 7:12 a.m.

FORT SMITH — A judge has declared a mistrial in a first-degree murder case over a woman's strangulation after he concluded that a juror introduced new evidence during deliberations.

Testimony lasted two days and jurors deliberated three hours Wednesday when the judge was told a juror had a concern.

Prosecutors charged 60-year-old Kevyphonh Sounyaphong in the 2013 death of 50-year-old Sakounsouk Vilayhong.

The defense called one witness, who needed a Vietnamese language interpreter. The Southwest Times Record reported that a juror who spoke Vietnamese said during deliberations that he or she didn't agree with the translation provided by the interpreter.

Circuit Judge Michael Fitzhugh granted a defense motion for a mistrial, saying the juror's statements were equal to introducing new evidence.


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