Life sentence in 2012 Modesto fatal stabbing

February 21, 2014 

A defendant has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for stabbing to death a Modesto man in 2012. Forrest Eric Heath, 32, on Nov. 12 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the stabbing of 32-year-old Jimmy Espinoza Jr. The two men had been longtime friends. Prosecutors did not offer a plea deal to the defendant, who admitted his guilt despite his attorney’s objection. Heath was sentenced Nov. 27 and has since been transferred to a state prison facility. A passer-by discovered Espinoza's body about 1:50 p.m. Sept. 12, 2012, in an alley just north of the Modesto Senior Citizens Center in the 200 block of Bodem Street. The prosecution dropped an enhancement for using a knife in the crime, which would have added a year in prison to Heath’s sentence.

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