Man who shot dead childhood friend jailed

·3-min read

A Victorian man who shot dead a childhood friend he thought had grassed on someone to the police from point blank range after a "play fight" has been jailed for at least 16 years.

Paguir Pan, 22, on Friday faced the Victorian Supreme Court, where he was sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison for the murder of Winis Apet at Springvale in March 2019.

Pan shot Mr Apet, 20, in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun from about one metre away after getting into a scuffle with him outside a hookah lounge.

They had grown up together and were "like brothers", the court was told.

Justice Lesley Taylor said Pan's "cowardly and callous" outburst was at least partly motivated by a belief that Mr Apet owed a mutual friend compensation after informing on him to the police.

She said the shooting was not a spur-of-the-moment reaction to the fight, as the pair were separated for about 40 minutes before Pan returned armed while wearing a hoodie and a mask.

Pan was, instead, already incensed that Mr Apet had cooperated with the police and lied to him about it.

"But for that background, it is inconceivable that your anger at his actions during the play fight would have flared and burned at sufficient intensity for you to obtain a loaded shotgun and return, disguised, to shoot him," Justice Taylor said.

"Whatever anger you felt at Mr Apet hitting you back during the play fight, you had more than sufficient time to regain control of your temper and reassess your plan.

"Although your offending is not to be characterised as a revenge killing, the deliberate taking of a life by shooting at point blank range in a public place, motivated by anger and self-entitlement, must be met by condign punishment."

Pan, who had consumed ice, alcohol and Xanax earlier in the night, then hid the weapon in a bag and immediately left the scene without helping Mr Apet.

Justice Taylor said the 22-year-old had guarded prospects of rehabilitation as he had struggled to live a "crime-free life" and murdered Mr Apet while on bail for armed robbery.

"You will not be a young man when you are released," the judge told him.

Mr Apet's mother, Akec Kuany, described her youngest son as "respectful and loving" in a statement to the court.

She feels his absence every day, suffers anxiety and avoids leaving her house.

Mr Apet's older brother, Baba Atem Apet, said he had taken over the role of caring for their mother following the death of his sibling.

His sister, Rini Apet, said her children dearly missed their uncle, whom she described as the "glue" of the family.

Another sister, Rita Apet, could no longer bear to live in the family home after her brother's death, the court was told.

Pan, who never revealed the location of the murder weapon, must serve at least 16 years behind bars before eligible for parole.

He has already served more than two years in pre-sentence detention.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting