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Police recommend manslaughter charge after fatal altercation in downtown Coeur d’Alene

UPDATED: Mon., June 19, 2017, 8:39 p.m.

Police are recommending a manslaughter charge against a 21-year-old man who was involved in an altercation early Sunday in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Detectives were called after 1 a.m. to the 300 block of North Fourth Street, where they found 29-year-old Jeffrey Marfice with “a significant head injury,” according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. Marfice was taken to Kootenai Health, where he underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

Detectives took statements from several witnesses and tracked down the suspect in the assault, Tyler Finlay, late Sunday at his home in Rathdrum. Detective Jared Reneau said Finlay admitted that he punched Marfice one time, causing him to fall and hit the back of his head on the pavement.

“When we placed him under arrest, it was very clear that he was remorseful and he didn’t intend for that to happen,” Reneau said.

Finlay originally faced an aggravated battery charge, but police changed that to manslaughter after Marfice, of Coeur d’Alene, was pronounced dead Monday morning.

Marfice’s girlfriend, Crystal Mobbs, told KHQ that Finlay had been harassing her and that Marfice was sticking up for her when Finlay threw the punch. Marfice was the father of a 6-year-old girl.

Reneau said it didn’t appear that Marfice had been physically fighting with Finlay.

“It’s hard to say exactly what happened,” Reneau said. “There was a lot of alcohol consumption. There’s a lot of varying stories.”

Finlay is being held in the Kootenai County Jail. A judge set his bond at $250,000.