A Fresno man who fired a shotgun at a group of thieves fleeing his backyard medical-marijuana garden – fatally wounding one of them – was sentenced Monday to 28 years to life in prison.
The shotgun blast by Phayvanh Dydouangphan, 41, hit Stanley Wallace in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of a pickup. The 40-year-old Caruthers man died two days after the incident last September, John Ellis reports in the Fresno Bee.
Stanley Wallace’s family knows that he was “killed after trying to commit a crime, but that still does not change the fact that he (Dydouangphan) had a choice when he loaded that gun with buckshot,” said Wanda Wallace, Stanley’s wife.
She said “Dale” – his nickname – won’t be around to see his youngest daughter graduate from high school next week, or to see his first granddaughter grow up.
The marijuana plants can be replaced, she said, but “we will never be able to regrow another Dale.”
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Arlan Harrell said Dydouangphan shot at people who posed no threat to him or his family – only his marijuana plants “that he, apparently, valued more than human life.”
Dydouangphan had said at his trial that he feared for his life when he fired at the thieves stealing marijuana plants from his home because one of them pointed a gun at him from the pickup as it sped away.
Jurors found Dydouangphan guilty of manslaughter, assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
On Monday, Harrell denied three motions by defense attorney Franz .Criego: one for a new trial, a second to set aside the jury’s verdict, and a third to reduce the verdict.
After the hearing, Wanda Wallace said the family was satisfied with the sentence.
The incident happened Sept. 8, 2010, when Wallace, two women and several men went to Dydouangphan’s home on Belmont Avenue, across from Roeding Park, in a van and pickup, attorneys said during the trial’s opening statements.
Wallace and the others parked the two vehicles on Durant Avenue just west of Dydouangphan’s home. The group then started tearing down the fence to the garden.
Awakened by barking dogs, Dydouangphan saw the intruders and, armed with a shotgun, fired a warning shot over their heads. The intruders quickly fled in their van and pickup. As they did, Dydouangphan shot Wallace in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of the pickup, prosecutor Michael Frye said.
Frye said during the trial that Dydouangphan didn’t have a right to shoot Wallace because Wallace didn’t pose a threat. He said the defendant gave police the shotgun and told an officer: “They rob. I shoot.”