A father has told a court of his “immense” grief after his son was killed in a fast-food parking lot by a high school friend.
James Makir, 26, pleading guilty to manslaughter in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday over the stabbing death of Kon Kot, 24.
Makir sat quietly in the dock, averting his eyes as Mr Kot’s family members entered the courtroom.
Crown prosecutor Neill Hutton told the court that Mr Kot, a RMIT student, had died from a 20cm stab wound to his chest that pierced his heart and lung on December 21, 2020.
“He suffered four separate stab wounds to his chest, left arm, leg and shoulder,” he said.
“He fell to the ground … and died at the scene.”
Mr Kot had driven with friends to a Hungry Jack’s carpark in Caroline Springs in Melbourne’ west after receiving a call from his 15-year-old brother Mabior Kot.
Kon Kot (left) with his brother Machar Kot. Picture: Instagram.
Mr Hutton told the court that Mr Kot’s brother had told him that Makir and his younger brother were trying to “staunch” him.
Tensions escalated and the groups began fighting before Mr Kot collapsed, saying, “He got me, the dog got me,” Mr Hutton said.
Makir fled the scene and was arrested at his house less than half an hour later.
He was initially charged with murder, but this was downgraded to manslaughter late last year.
Mr Hutton told the court the families of both men had been friends and the two boys had gone to school together.
“They called themselves cousins because they came from the same region in South Sudan,” he said.
Family members of Kon Kot leave the Supreme Court of Victoria after James Makir pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Picture: Liam Beatty.
The court was told prosecutors conceded they could not prove Makir had brought the knife to the incident.
Makir’s barrister, John Desmond, told the court it was a “dynamic, aggressive and unfolding” situation when the fatal blow was inflicted.
“He was defending himself … the argument descended into a physical attack when the deceased threw the first punch,” he said.
“The defence submit if the victim provokes the offender‘s conduct it will lessen culpability.”
Mr Desmond said his client had asked him to share an apology to the victim, the victim’s family and the community at large.
“They’d grown up together,” he said.
“He could not believe he had taken his friend’s life. He hates himself for what he did. He regrets not walking away.”
Mr Kot was fatally stabbed.
Two members of Mr Kot’s family provided victim impact statements to the court detailing the “torture” they felt daily over his death and the stabbing murder of his 21-year-old brother six months earlier.
Machar Kot, 21, was stabbed in Melbourne’s CBD in June the same year. His killer, Marco Deng, was jailed for 19 years in December last year after being found guilty of murder.
Mr Kot’s father, Antipas Koc, told the court they had fled South Sudan after he was accused of sympathising with rebel groups and his children had grown up in Sydney before relocating to Melbourne.
“We thought Australia was a safe haven for us,” he said.
“My son died innocently and through no fault of his own. The deaths of my two sons have devastated my family here and over there.”
Younger sister Anhail Kot said it was true to Mr Kot’s character that he “spent the last few moments of his life fighting to protect his younger brother”.
“The single actions of this person have tortured me in many ways,” she said.
“We’re hoping we can get some justice for my brother, he didn’t deserve this, we didn’t deserve this.”
Sentencing was adjourned by Justice Amanda Fox to a date as yet unfixed.