Anthony Lonetree, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –
A St. Paul man was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison for a rampage last November during which he stabbed his wife in the eyes and killed a man he believed to be her lover.
The wife, Paw Pree, 41, sought leniency in the sentencing of her husband, Pah Ber, 49.
Ramsey County District Judge Elena Ostby aimed to honor the request by making sentences on counts of second-degree murder and first-degree assault concurrent rather than consecutive. But the resulting prison time was just two years less than the 32 years recommended by the county’s probation department.
“This was a particularly heinous offense,” Ostby said.
Ber, who had experience as a meat cutter, inflicted a wound so deep into the neck of Po Lye, 40, that he nearly decapitated him, the judge said.
Pree, who did not speak to Ostby, sat in the rear of the courtroom wearing sunglasses. Prosecutor Ann Kahn said Friday she’s had four surgeries on her eyes, and while she has regained some of her eyesight, the extent of her recovery is unknown.
According to the charges, Ber attacked his victims about 6 a.m. on Nov. 19 after he returned home from a night of drinking and playing cards. He found Lye, his son’s friend, in the family’s living room, and stabbed him in the stomach before slashing his throat, killing him.
Ber allegedly told police that Lye had suggested previously that the couple and Lye sleep together.
Pree fled to her bedroom, and locked the door, but Ber broke in and stabbed her numerous times. One of the couple’s five children led her out of the apartment when Ber retreated to the kitchen to sharpen the knife, the charges say.
Defense attorney Marcus Almon said that Ber suffered from depression and delusional jealousy, and was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
Ostby noted he had been found competent to stand trial.
Ber pleaded guilty to the charges in July. He said nothing Friday when Ostby asked if he wished to address the court.