A Portland man has pleaded guilty to murdering his domestic partner in early 2018.

Anthony Leng, now 42, was accused in the shooting death 36-year-old Sokha Khuon after a domestic argument. He had pleaded not guilty and, as of Friday, was scheduled for trial in less than two weeks. But he abruptly changed his plea at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, and the Portland Police Department announced the resolution in a news release soon after.

Sokha Khuon

His sentencing will take place at a later date, but a spokesman said the Maine Attorney General’s Office agreed to a cap of 40 years. The possible sentence for murder is 25 years to life.

“As sometimes happens this hearing developed quickly,” spokesman Marc Malon wrote in an email.

Khuon was shot at least five times Jan. 7, 2018, in the Dorothy Street home the couple shared with two of their three children. Leng told police that she accused him of having an affair with a co-worker and that she brandished a knife during the argument.

But police said that story didn’t match the evidence, and Leng changed his story repeatedly during the investigation. Investigators testified in court last year that it appeared that Khuon was shot moments after entering the Riverside home. She was still wearing her winter coat with a purse under one arm when police found her body slumped against a dishwasher in the kitchen with a knife resting in the palm of one hand and eight other knives scattered around her.

Leng was arrested about a week after the shooting. He has been at the Cumberland County Jail ever since, and Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton ordered him held without bail.

Defense attorney Peter Cyr did not return a call to his office for comment Wednesday. Malon said the Maine Attorney General’s Office did not have any further comment on the case. The case file was with the judge and not available Wednesday afternoon.

An obituary for Khuon said she was born in Thailand in 1981 and graduated from Portland High School in 2000. She liked to watch her children’s sports games, garden, fish and cook.

“She was a favorite in her circle of friends and family, and especially dear to her nieces and nephew,” the obituary says. “She cared about everyone and was known as Auntie to most.”

She would have celebrated her 38th birthday this month.

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