Peoria man’s 55-year murder sentence overturned

OTTAWA, Ill. (WEEK) — An Illinois appellate court has overturned the 55-year sentence of a Peoria man who pleaded guilty to the murder of his estranged wife in 2013.

Phouvone Sophanavong, 50, was sentenced to 55 years in prison in Tazewell County after pleading guilty to his wife’s shooting death in Tazewell County Circuit Court in April 2014. The next month, he attempted to withdraw his plea because he claimed his counsel provided ineffective assistance. The court appointed new counsel for Sophanavong.

In October 2014, he again tried to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming his legal counsel’s poor assistance led him to make the plea without understanding the ramifications. The court denied his motion in 2014, and again in May 2017.

Sophanavong appealed his sentence to the 3rd District Appellate Court in Ottawa. The appellate court ruled in favor of Sophanavong, vacating his 55-year sentence and remanding the case back to trial court.

Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

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