Fresno County father accused of killing his wife and family friend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Investigators are portraying the case as a crime of passion. Leuth Sengsongkham was held to answer for the shooting deaths of his wife and the man he believed was also her boyfriend.

Leuth Sengsongkham told detectives what happened the morning he woke up and grabbed his 9 millimeter gun from his closet. Six months of marital problems had become too much.

Donna Davis with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "He confronted Rattana regarding what he referred to as cheating. She mentioned to him that she was going to be leaving him on Tuesday."

The suspect showed little emotion in court Thursday. Several of his kids sobbed as they listened to investigators tell the court his detailed account of how he murdered their mother and a family friend named Somkeo or "Keo" Thongkhamvilay. The three were at the farm where they worked growing Asian vegetables in Fresno County.

Davis said, "Mr. Sengsongkham became upset and he shot Keo first and then shot Rattana."

Later in the day, an irrigator working nearby was the first to discover the victims who he initially thought were sleeping.

Hector Palma with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "He said he approached to go and check and he got within a foot of the male's head and he observed that the male and female they were deceased."

After the murders, Sengsongkham said he drove to his daughter's house in Las Vegas to tell her what he did and ask her to take care of the family. About the same time, other family members were arriving at crime scene on Chestnut and Adams, crying and hugging the female victim.

When detectives asked Sengsongkham why he didn't just divorce his wife, he told them he didn't want to upset his children.

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