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Kent man gets 15 years for 2010 shooting death

A superior court judge on Jan. 10 sentenced Aenoy Phasay to 15 years in prison for the 2010 shooting death of an Auburn man.

A jury last month convicted the Kent man, 31, of second-degree murder for the shooting death of 48-year-old Thomas J. Bennett Sr. in March 2010. The jury also made a finding for a firearm sentencing enhancement. Prosecutors said Phasay shot Bennett multiple times after a heated dispute in the parking lot of the north Auburn Top Food and Drug at 1702 Auburn Way N. and threatened Bennett's son, who had witnessed the killing.

Phasay has a child with Bennett Jr.'s older half-sister.

According to prosecutors, Phasay shot Bennett Sr., to death in front of Bennett's son during a meeting that had been set up to resolve some long-standing differences.

Auburn Police Detective Michael Jordan offered the following account of events in court documents.

Bennett Jr. called 911 at 3:01 a.m. to report that his father had been shot. A second caller reported hearing three gunshots from the east side of the lot. The responding police officer found the mortally-wounded man lying on the ground just outside the open driver's side door of a silver Land Rover, one foot still inside the vehicle.

The officer performed CPR until medics arrived, but 15 minutes later Bennett Sr. was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nearby, officers found three spent shell casings and three unspent cartridges. Bennett Jr. identified the shooter as Phasay.

Bennett Jr. told police that he had accompanied his father that morning to support him. According to charging papers, Bennett Sr. had asked Phasay to sit in the back seat, but the younger man refused, and the two argued. Bennett Jr. told police that his father got out of the driver's seat, but that he, Bennett Jr., stayed in the car. Bennett Jr. told police that the two men got into a fight behind the car, and that he tried to stop the fight. He said that his father got back into the driver's seat of the car, but that as his father was doing so, Phasay approached and punched him in the head. At that point, court papers say, Phasay produced a black semiautomatic Glock handgun.

Bennett Jr. immediately left the car, crawled to the rear and lay down on the ground. Bennett Jr. told police that he then heard several gun shots and that afterward Phasay walked around the car to where he was and pointed the handgun at him. Bennett Jr. told police that he begged Phasay not to shoot him, and that Phasay told him "don't say a word" and took off running.

Valley SWAT arrested Phasay at 9:30 that morning at his apartment in Kent.

During a post-arrest statement to detectives, Phasay initially claimed that he had shot Bennett Sr. in self-defense, but later admitted that Bennett Jr. had broken up the first fight and that Bennett Sr. had returned to the driver's seat of the car.

Phasay told detectives that he "might have been angry" and approached Bennett Sr. while he sat in the driver's seat of the car. Phasay admitted to then punching the older man in the face and stepping back to pull the pistol from his waistband.

Phasay told detectives he shot Bennett two times. Phasay also told detectives that he then walked over to Bennett Jr. and told him not to "say anything."

Phasay told detectives that he then returned to his vehicle and drove to the Tacoma Narrrows Bridge, thought about jumping off, but instead threw the gun off the bridge and returned to his apartment.

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