A judge on Monday ordered a 42-year-old man to serve a four-year prison sentence for stabbing another man to death after the victim brandished a knife during a fight at Mellis Park in west Modesto.
Anthony Brewer on July 19 pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Robbie Hull Jr. The manslaughter charge included an enhancement of using a knife.
Brewer initially was scheduled to stand trial this week on a charge of second-degree murder. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge in exchange for his plea.
The defendant received a sentence based on mitigating circumstances in the case. Evidence presented in a March preliminary hearing indicated that Hull started the fight with Brewer and threw the first punch.
The fight occurred at the park about 9 p.m. April 17, 2015. The incident started with a man and woman arguing at the park.
Brewer interjected himself into the argument, telling the man that he shouldn’t be speaking that way to a woman, according to the evidence in the preliminary hearing. Hull then told Brewer that the argument didn’t involve the defendant, and that it was not his business. The confrontation between Hull and Brewer then ensued.
Hull pulled out a knife, and he and Brewer wrestled to the ground at the park. During the scuffle, Hull was stabbed with the knife. The scuffle ended, and Hull walked away before he collapsed, according to the preliminary hearing evidence.
In the meantime, Brewer went to his vehicle to pull out a screwdriver. A witness initially told police that Brewer had retrieved a machete, but that portion of the witness’s account turned out to be false.
Hull was found injured at the park, face down on the ground with multiple stab wounds in his chest. He was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where he died.
Modesto police investigators later identified Brewer as the suspect in the fatal stabbing and issued a warrant for his arrest. A week after the stabbing, Brewer was found and arrested at a Redwood City motel.
The court gives families of victims an opportunity to speak in court at a sentencing hearing about the impact of the crime. Deputy District Attorney Jared Carrillo, who prosecuted the case, told the judge that Hull’s sister and three other relatives were in the courtroom Monday morning, but they declined to speak.
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Rubén Villalobos ordered Brewer to pay restitution, which will includes money for Hull’s funeral expenses. The judge then ordered Brewer to be transferred into the custody of state prison officials.
The prosecutor said Brewer’s manslaughter charge is considered a violent felony, so he will have to serve at least 85 percent of his time in prison before he is eligible for parole. Carrillo said the defendant’s charge also is considered a strike under the state’s “three-strikes” law.