Oakdale man sentenced to 30 years in bar owner’s shooting

Yia Her

Yia Her, 27, of Oakdale was sentenced to 30.5 years in prison on May 30 for his role in the shooting death of a Frogtown bar owner last June. Her was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of 45-year-old Vone Moua, the owner of Malina’s Sports Bar on the 600 block of North Dale Street in St. Paul.

Her was also found guilty of two counts of attempted second-degree murder against the bar’s disc jockey and another employee, who were both injured in the shooting. Her’s brother-in-law, 23-year-old Cheng Vang of Minneapolis, pulled the trigger, killing Moua just before bar close. Vang was charged with the same offenses as Her, and was sentenced to 41.5 years in prison in April.

According to the criminal complaint, Her was asked to leave the bar at around 2:15 a.m. June 9, 2013, because the bar had closed. However, Her refused to leave, complaining that he had paid $20 for two hours of pool. The DJ told police he had overheard Her make a phone call, asking the person on the other end to enter the bar. The DJ said Her then left the bar.

Her returned shortly thereafter and pounded and kicked on the door to the bar, which had been locked. Moua reportedly gave an employee permission to open the door, and Her and Vang entered. A physical altercation between Her and Moua ensued, and employees tried to shove Her toward the door.

The DJ recalled the situation to police, saying that he came over to help his boss when Vang reached toward Moua with something metal in his hand and then heard the shot, which was fired at point-blank range -- killing Moua. The complaint says Vang then turned the gun on the DJ, who instinctively grabbed the gun, but was grazed by a bullet on his neck. Another employee was also shot underneath his armpit.

When police later caught up with the pair, Her told police through an interpreter that he became angry when Moua refused to refund the $20 he had paid to rent a pool table. He claims he did not intend on killing the bar’s owner, but wanted to scare him into giving him his money back. He denied seeing his brother-in-law with a gun in the past, but said he just assumed he owned one.

Ramsey County Attorney’s Office spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein said several members of Vone Moua’s family gave victim impact statements at Her’s sentencing. Absent was Moua’s widow Mee Moua, who was ill and could not make it to the courtroom. On good behavior, both men will be eligible for parole after completing two-thirds of their sentences.

--Joshua Nielsen and Johanna Holub


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