Crime - Sacto 911

North Highlands man gets 56 years to life for fatal 2017 stabbing of his friend

A man was sentenced last week to 56 years to life in prison for the 2017 stabbing murder of his friend in North Highlands.

Souksavanh Phetvongkham of North Highlands was convicted in early February of the first-degree murder of Mario Benitez-Gallegos on March 21, 2017. The fatal stabbing followed a fight between the two near Madison Avenue and Jackson Street, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department told The Sacramento Bee at the time.

Phetvongkham, 43 at the time of the incident, was reportedly a friend of Benitez-Gallegos, 32. The two had a recent falling out, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Tuesday.

The two were riding in a car together, then agreed to exit the vehicle and fight. During that fight, Phetvongkham stabbed the victim multiple times, including a wound to the heart. Benitez-Gallegos died of blood loss before arriving at a hospital, according to the news release.

Phetvongkham was sentenced Friday by Judge Gerrit Wood. A prior-strike allegation of aggravated felony assault was found to be true at the sentencing hearing, the DA news release said.

If you have information about any of these people, please call 800-222-7463.

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