Gang Deng Majok pleaded guilty to murder Friday in the shooting death of Treyjon Arsenault, the 19-year-old Westbrook High School graduate who was gunned down inside a Portland recording studio on Memorial Day weekend in 2015.

Majok, who was sentenced to 30 years by Justice Andrew M. Horton, agreed to change his plea rather than risk a trial.

Arsenault’s mother, Nancy Laxson of Scarborough, said she struggled with the decision to pursue the plea agreement, but is now relieved to see the sentencing completed before Sunday, which would have been Arsenault’s 21st birthday.

“It was a hard decision to make, but it’s a really good way to really lay him at rest and give him some peace so he can enjoy his 21st birthday, we can enjoy that with him,” Laxson said during brief remarks to the media outside the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland. “It’s just been a long 21 months, and it’s time for our family to have some closure.”

Laxson also was critical of authorities for not deporting Majok, a Sudanese national who had been granted asylum and had pleaded guilty to a string of misdemeanors.

It was not immediately clear whether someone with asylum status could be deported after being convicted of a misdemeanor. Majok will be subject to deportation after he completes his sentence for Arsenault’s murder.

Arsenault was hanging out with friends at Da Block Studios Inc., a recording studio at the corner of Fore and Market streets in Portland’s Old Port, when shooting broke out on the night of May 25, 2015. Arsenault was not involved in the conflict that led to the shooting and did not know the people involved.

According to authorities, Majok and one of Majok’s associates, Johnny Ouch of Westbrook, got into an argument with Mohamed Ali, a longtime rival of Ouch.

The argument escalated and Majok and Ouch started shooting, according to Ouch’s attorney.

Ouch shot Ali, who survived. Arsenault was shot in the abdomen by Majok and died from his wounds.

Police recovered from the scene at least nine bullets from the two handguns.

Majok spoke briefly during the sentencing to apologize.

“I’m sorry for my actions,” he said. “I never intended to harm Trey.”

Ouch pleaded guilty to felony assault in July, but he has not been sentenced. As part of his plea deal, Ouch agreed to testify against Majok, and his sentencing date was delayed until Majok’s case was resolved.

Outside the courthouse after Friday’s sentencing, Laxson spoke about Majok’s status as an immigrant and his criminal record.

“I just think when you do something wrong, you shouldn’t have the right to be here,” she said. “It’s not fair. And if (deportation) would have happened to him a long time ago, then Trey would still be here.”

Before being charged with the shooting, Majok had a criminal history that began in 2006, but his offenses were misdemeanors.

According to the State Bureau of Identification, Majok’s first criminal conviction was in 2006 for misdemeanor assault.

He pleaded guilty to a string of other misdemeanors, including multiple counts of violating the conditions of his release.

Although Majok was charged with felony drug trafficking in 2009, it is unclear from state records how those allegations were resolved. He never was convicted on the charge.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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