Tacoma murder suspect escapes death penalty

Herald staff

TACOMA — The Pierce County prosecutor has decided not to seek the death penalty against a Tacoma man accused of stabbing and shooting the mother of his two young sons this summer.

Nhin Chhay, 29, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the June 26 death of 33-year-old Chanthy Ros, his estranged girlfriend.

After a review, prosecutor John Ladenburg said he decided against seeking the death penalty because Chhay lacked a "significant prior criminal history" and apparently acted under mental duress.

Chhay has pleaded innocent, although charging papers say he admitted killing Ros out of jealousy because he believed she had a new boyfriend. The documents allege Chhay bought the gun used in the killing.

The only penalty upon conviction for aggravated murder would be life in prison without possibility of parole.

  • Co-owner of convenience store found dead: The co-owner of a southwest Seattle convenience store was found shot to death in the store Monday morning. Yongsu Kim, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene. An employee called police about 8:20 a.m. and reported finding Kim’s body in an office at the Texaco Star Mart in the 7100 block of Delridge Way SW. A gun was found near Kim’s body, but Seattle police spokesman Clem Benton said people pumping gas at the time of the shooting saw no suspect.

  • Alaska Airlines plane turns around when landing gear door fails to close: An Alaska Airlines plane turned around and landed safely Monday morning when a landing gear door failed to close after takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The plane’s open door scraped the runway during the landing. The MD80 jet blocked the runway for 20 minutes before it was moved, said airport spokesman Bob Parker. Flight 344 had taken off for San Jose, Calif. at 6:40 a.m. and returned 70 minutes later. The plane’s 135 passengers were placed on other flights, according to Alaska Airlines spokesman Greg Witter.

  • Woman stabbed to death in apartment: A Seattle woman was stabbed to death in her apartment, and police said a man had been arrested in the case. Julie Hahs-Nieves, 34, was found dead of multiple stab wounds early Saturday morning after police were called by her husband, who said he discovered her body when he returned home. The husband was taken into custody after a brief altercation with officers but was not immediately held in the slaying, Officer Pam McCammon said. Police did not immediately release any information on the 30-year-old man who was arrested for investigation in the stabbing.

  • Washington state benefits from bill: President Clinton on Monday signed a bill to fund rural schools. The schools proposal changes the formula for distributing aid to counties that have tax-exempt federal forest land within county boundaries and provides an additional $1 billion over five years for schools and roads. Oregon would be the biggest beneficiary, receiving about $260 million, followed by California with $65 million, Washington state with $44 million and Idaho with nearly $23 million.

  • California man wins one-third of Lotto jackpot: A self-employed building contractor from Hanford, Calif., arrived at the Washington State Lottery’s Spokane office Monday to claim his one-third share of a record $32 million Lotto jackpot. John R. Scott, 47, said he plans to invest his winnings and finish projects. Scott, who conducts business in both California and Washington, chose the one-time cash payment option, rather than annual payments, and walked away with $3.84 million after withholding for federal income taxes. Wednesday’s Lotto drawing will be worth $2 million.

  • Man in burned-out car dies of smoke inhalation: The Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death of a man found in a burned-out car near Deming last weekend was accidental. An autopsy Monday showed Kevin James Anderson, 23, of Deming died of smoke inhalation. Investigators are waiting for the results of blood tests, but authorities said no crime is suspected. Anderson was identified through dental records. His charred remains were found Saturday morning in a car on Highway 542 about 10 miles northeast of Bellingham.
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