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Foss High School killer gets 23-year prison term

TACOMA, Wash. -- A 20-year-old man who shot another student to death in January 2007 at Foss High School in Tacoma has been sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.

Douglas Chanthabouly was sentenced Friday in Pierce County Superior Court by Judge Ronald Culpepper.

He was convicted April 1 of second-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Samnang Kok in a hallway before the start of classes.

Chanthabouly had been charged with first-degree murder, but the jury returned the conviction on the lesser charge. The 23-year sentence was on the high side of the standard range for the crime.

During the trial, Chanthabouly's defense team didn't deny their client pulled the trigger, but claimed he was mentally ill at the time. They said Chanthabouly has a documented history of schizophrenia and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kirkland in 2005 after attempting suicide.

His lawyers said he had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and thought Kok was a member of a street gang out to hurt him and his brother.

Some students who heard the gunshots or saw the victim crumple to the floor didn't believe what was happening was real. The screaming teachers and streaks of blood on the lockers quickly convinced them it was.

The shooting, which happened just before the first period bell rang at 7:30 a.m. on the day classes resumed after the holiday break, sent students scrambling as Kok lay dying in a hallway. The shooter bolted out a set of double doors.

About two hours later, police arrested Chanthabouly a few blocks away from Henry Foss High School.

Witnesses told police Chanthabouly pointed a handgun at Kok and fired a shot into his face. He then stood over the body and fired twice more, hitting Kok in the lower left side and left buttock.

When he is released from prison, Chanthabouly will be placed under community supervision for the rest of his life.

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