A Spokane man who fatally stabbed another man last year in a downtown parking lot has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Martin Tuinzing, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter before being sentenced Monday in Spokane County Superior Court.
He was originally charged with second-degree murder for killing James Gebhard last Oct. 4 in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at Third and Washington.
Witnesses said Gebhard, 22, and Tuinzing exchanged insults outside the restaurant. A fight ensued, and Tuinzing stabbed Gebhard once in the chest with a knife.
At the sentencing, Tuinzing expressed remorse for the crime and asked for the maximum prison term - 54 months.
He said he would serve that time if it “eased the pain of the victim’s family members,” said Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz.
In arranging the plea agreement, prosecutors had recommended a 47-month prison sentence.
“The change in charge from murder to manslaughter occurred because there were indications this happened in self-defense,” Steinmetz said.
Tuinzing has two earlier Spokane County felony convictions for forgery and taking a motor vehicle without permission.
He had been out on bail since the murder. He reported to the county jail Monday evening to begin serving his term.
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