Murder suspect rejects plea dealPublished 6:50pm Saturday, July 14, 2012
ST. PAUL — The St. Paul man accused of stabbing his wife and killing an Albert Lea man has rejected a plea agreement Friday.
Just minutes before he was slated to plead guilty to amended charges tied to the alleged altercation, Pah Ber, 49, opted to not accept the agreement and to instead proceed to trial.
Ber’s lawyer, Marcus Almon, said he plans to use a defense that his client was “voluntarily intoxicated” at the time of his actions.
According to court documents, Ber had reportedly been drinking and playing cards Nov. 19, before he came home to his apartment in St. Paul’s North End neighborhood and saw Albert Lean Po Lye, 40, sleeping on the living room couch and accused him of sleeping with his wife.
After allegedly stabbing Lye in the neck, stomach and chest, Ber reportedly turned on his wife, Paw Pree, 40. While Pree survived, she suffered serious injuries.
Ber, who appeared for the hearing in custody in a dark green Ramsey County Jail jumpsuit, looked down as discussions took place between his lawyer, the prosecutors and Ramsey County Judge Elena Ostby. He communicated through an interpreter speaking Karen.
Pree, her daughter and another family member attended the hearing seated near the back of the courtroom.
Pree had been stabbed numerous times in the altercation, including several times in the eyes. While she is not blind, she appears to have suffered substantial damage to her vision. She listened to the proceedings through a listening device that was connected to the interpreter.
Ber initially faced one count of second-degree murder in the death of Lye and one count of second-degree attempted murder related to Pree.
However, in anticipation of the plea agreement Friday, Ramsey County Assistant Attorney Juan Hoyas had amended the charges to include a first-degree assault charge instead of the attempted murder charge.
Hoyas indicated he would re-file the original charges with the refusal of the agreement.
Ber’s trial has been scheduled for Aug. 20.