School principal gets life for killing teacher

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A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced a primary school principal to life imprisonment for fatally slashing the throat of a teacher during a drunken quarrel at the school library.

Nguyen Thanh An, the 36-year-old former principal of Phuoc Long C Primary School in Bac Lieu Province's Phuoc Long District, was also ordered to pay the victim's family VND165 million (US$7,857) in compensation.

According to the indictment, An was drinking beer with two teachers of the school Tran Viet Trieu and Bui Thanh Dang at the school library on June 24. Trieu was in charge of managing the school archives and documents and Dang was chairman of the school's Labor Union.

An and Dang were reviewing a list of scholarships for the school students and Trieu was preparing school reports for fifth graders.

After the three got drunk, 29-year-old Trieu spoke scornfully of An, accusing him of having limited ability in math after challenging An to solve a high school math problem. Trieu also said An actually had not graduated from high school.

An suddenly grabbed Trieu's head and slashed his throat with a crab nipper. The principal also attacked Dang, but the latter was fortunate to survive.

An fled the scene but was apprehended by the police 15 hours after the murder.

Dang was taken to the Bac Lieu General Hospital where he received six stitches on his neck and treatment for several injuries on his forehead and arms. Doctors estimated he had suffered a 21 percent permanent injury.

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At the court, An said he had lost control when he was insulted by Trieu.

The court sentenced An to life imprisonment saying he had committed the crime under provocation. An's father's contributions to the country during the war were also considered in mitigating his sentence after the Bac Lieu provincial prosecutors' office had proposed the death sentence.

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