A 19-year-old Hollywood man admitted Friday that he robbed a 7-Eleven store on Sherman Way in Van Nuys last summer and shot the clerk to death.
Phouvong (Freeman) Inthavong testified at a preliminary hearing for his alleged accomplice, Aries Yap, 20, of Sun Valley, that he entered the store Aug. 14 while Yap stayed in a car. Inthavong testified that he panicked and shot the clerk, Vijay Shankar Roy, because he thought Roy was reaching for a gun.
Inthavong said he and Yap planned the store robbery and a holdup the next evening of a man at a Panorama City apartment building. On both occasions, Yap provided the gun and served as the getaway driver, Inthavong testified.
Inthavong and Yap each are accused of one count of first-degree murder, two counts of robbery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Inthavong is awaiting his preliminary hearing.
In exchange for Inthavong's testimony, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ed Consiglio said, the district attorney's office will drop a special circumstance allegation.
Up to 30 Years
Under that allegation, murder during commission of a robbery, Inthavong could have received the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole if convicted. Instead, he now could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison, Consiglio said.
Without Inthavong's testimony, Consiglio said, he would have had little evidence against Yap.
Yap's preliminary hearing is expected to conclude Monday, at which time Judge James M. Coleman will decide whether the prosecution has presented enough evidence to hold Yap for trial on the murder charge.