Killer in St. Paul pool table murder given 41-year sentence

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 7, 2014 - 9:57 PM

A Twin Cities man was sentenced to about 41½ years in prison for fatally shooting a St. Paul bar owner last summer over a $20 pool table fee.

Cheng Vang, 23, pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder for killing Vone Moua, 45, and wounding two others at Malina’s Sports Bar in St. Paul. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Vang testified at his plea hearing that he went to the bar with his brother-in-law, Yia Her, left and later returned in the early morning hours of June 9 after Her summoned him.

Her had paid $20 to use a pool table, but wasn’t able to get $20 worth of playing time in by the time the bar closed. Her, 27, argued with Moua over the money, and called Vang to return to the bar with his gun, according to testimony at Her’s trial.

Her was convicted by a jury in March for his role in Moua’s death and awaits sentencing.

At one point, Her and Moua’s argument escalated into a shoving match. Moua, a social worker who owned and operated the bar with his wife at 693 Dale St. N. for at least 10 years, and some male friends escorted Her and Vang out. That’s when Vang pressed his gun into Moua’s head and fired, said Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Dawn Bakst.

Vang fired two more times. A second man was struck in the left armpit, with the bullet lodging in his neck. A bullet grazed a third man in the neck.

None of Vang’s victims were armed. Moua’s pregnant wife was at the bar at the time.

Chao Xiong

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