OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday for fatally shooting a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus driver outside a bar in unincorporated San Leandro in 2016.
Sophy Kong, 36, was convicted on Sept. 20 of first-degree murder for the shooting of Sukia Jackson, 43, of Foster City outside the Shooter’s Bar in the 1500 block of 150th Avenue in unincorporated San Leandro at about 2 a.m. on June 4, 2016.
Kong was also convicted of the special circumstance of lying in wait and two counts of premeditated attempted murder for shooting at two other men and wounding one of them.
Kong pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after charges were filed against him so he had a separate sanity phase in his trial in early October.
But jurors decided that he was sane at the time of the shooting.
In his closing argument in the guilt phase of Kong’s trial, his lawyer, James Reilly, said Kong should be found not guilty because he was blacked out and in an unconscious state when the shooting occurred and he doesn’t remember anything about it.
Reilly told jurors, “Make no mistake about it, it’s clear that he (Kong) shot Mr. Jackson.”
But Reilly said, “If you find he (Kong) was unconscious at the time he shot Mr. Jackson it’s a complete defense.”
Reilly said Kong, who was born in Cambodia and lived in Thailand for a time before he came to the U.S., bought a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun because he felt he needed to protect his family after hallucinating and hearing threatening voices in his head.
The defense lawyer said Kong has suffered from mental health issues since 2012.
Reilly said Kong was “semi-homeless” at the time of the shooting and occasionally stayed with his mother, his sister and his girlfriend, with whom he had a child who’s now 3 years old.
But Alameda County prosecutor Danielle Hilton told jurors in her closing argument that Kong should be found guilty as charged and their verdict indicates that they agreed with her.