Jan 122011

A Fresno man who fatally wounded a thief while protecting his backyard medical-marijuana garden last year was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday.

Phayvanh Dydouangphan, 47, also was found guilty of assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle in the Sept. 8 shooting death of Stanley Wallace, 40, of Caruthers.

Dydouangphan’s attorney, Franz Criego, said his client faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to life. The maximum sentence possible for the three guilty verdicts is 43 years and eight months to life, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 9 in Judge Arlan Harrell’s courtroom, Eddie Jimenez reports in the Fresno Bee.

Criego said he was disappointed with the verdict but noted that the jury rejected a murder conviction.

The Superior Court jury had the option to decide whether Dydouangphan murdered Wallace or shot him in self-defense.

Instead, jurors chose a lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter.

While the conviction of his client was not unexpected, Criego said, “Everyone has to ask themselves, ‘Does this verdict make you sleep better at night?’ ”

Prosecutor Michael Frye said he was pleased with the verdict and that jurors, who deliberated for 21/2 days, took the case very seriously.

On the morning of the shooting, 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, then the group began to tear 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. Pandemonium broke out and the intruders quickly left in their van and pickup. But during the escape, Dydouangphan shot Wallace in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of the pickup, prosecutor Michael Frye said. He died two days later. Frye contended 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.”

But Criego said Dydouangphan also had told police the thieves had guns. Criego said someone in the fleeing truck displayed a firearm “in a menacing fashion,” causing his client to fear for his life.

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