A Miamisburg man in jail for more than a year awaiting trial has admitted to killing a Fairfield woman in 2019.
Kirby Cheong, 30, of Summit Point Drive in Miamisburg, was arrested in March 2020 in Montgomery County by U.S. Marshals for allegedly killing 23-year-old Katherine Lobono at her Fairfield residence on Oct. 1, 2019. He was charged with murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence.
On Monday, Cheong pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification and tampering with evidence. He faces a maximum of 22 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors and the defense agreed to a minimum of 17 years in prison with no chance for judicial release. The trial was scheduled to begin next month.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers III set Cheong’s sentencing for July 19.
Cheong has been held in the Butler County Jail since his arrest in lieu of $500,000 bond.
Lobono died of multiple gunshot wounds and suffered other injuries, including ligature marks on her neck, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office report.
She was discovered dead lying on the floor of her apartment at the Villages of Wildwood off Ross Road in Fairfield by friends who were dog-sitting, according to a 911 call.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said there were “too may people involved with the evidence in case, after the death occurred. Some evidence was contaminated,” which led to the plea bargain.
Gmoser said his office consulted with Lobono’s family before the plea deal was offered.
The prosecutor said Lobono was killed with her own gun during a heated confrontation with Cheong. Cheong’s fingerprint was found on one of the bullets, but so was anther person’s print.
“Proof beyond a reasonable doubt became more of an issue,” Gmoser said. “It was a close, close call.”
The victim and Cheong were involved in a relationship, an argument occurred and she was shot, according to prosecutors. Gmoser said Cheong was leading a double life, one in Montgomery County were he was employed and another in Butler County where he was allegedly involved in drugs.
“He had a strong, possessive, emotional attachment to her and we have every reason to believe she wanted to break that off and he didn’t,” Gmoser said, noting there was evidence Cheong tried to choke Lobono in front of witnesses a few months before her death.