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The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday upheld the 40-year sentence of a Portland man who admitted he murdered his domestic partner in early 2018.

Anthony Leng, 43, shot Sokha Khuon, 36, five times on Jan. 6 in the couple’s home. Their sons, then 10 and 15, were at home at the time of the slaying and saw their mother’s body on the kitchen floor.

Leng pleaded guilty to murder in September 2019 at the Cumberland Judicial Center in Portland. Three months later, Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton sentenced Leng to 40 years in prison.

He appealed his sentence, arguing that Horton failed to compare the circumstances of Leng’s crime to those of other defendants convicted in domestic violence homicide cases. The justices disagreed and said in their 13-page opinion that Horton could have but was not required “to conduct a comparison of Leng’s case to similar cases at all.”

Leng initially told authorities that he shot Khuon out of fear in their Dorothy Street home. He claimed that she came at him with a knife, but police said that he fired the gun several times and kept shooting when Khuon was on the floor. He also staged the crime scene to make it look like she had been the aggressor.

Leng is incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren. His earliest possible release date is July 2052.