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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Toledoan gets 9 years for fatal stabbing


A Toledo man who was convicted of fatally stabbing a homeowner who was attempting to make him leave was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to nine years in prison.

Jeffery Townsend, 39, of 119 Belmont Ave., entered an Alford plea earlier this month of one count each of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary. Judge Charles Doneghy sentenced him to nine years in prison for the manslaughter charge and five years for the burglary charge. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.

Townsend was at the Nebraska Avenue home of Gerald Web on May 23 when he was repeatedly asked to leave. But despite numerous requests and three telephone calls to police, Townsend refused to leave.

A witness reported that the two men began fighting and that Webb was using a baseball bat. Townsend used a knife to stab Webb once in the chest.

Townsend, who was arrested shortly after the stabbing at a nearby bar, apologized to Webb's family, saying that the hopes that one day "the Lord can forgive me and I hope everyone else will too."

Townsend was originally charged with two alternate counts of murder, and one count each of aggravated burglary and felonious assault. In a voluntary manslaughter charge, a defendant is charged with a purposeful killing after being provoked by the victim.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but still pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it the same as any guilty plea.

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