BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A defendant accused of fatally stabbing a man in Mandan last summer has been convicted of manslaughter, but found innocent of murder and negligent homicide.
A jury in Morton County deliberated about three hours before reaching the verdict Wednesday. Arthur Funk, 48, was found not guilty of murder and negligent homicide.
A murder conviction carried a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. The maximum punishment for manslaughter is 10 years in behind bars.
Defense attorney, Scott Rose, told jurors in closing arguments that Funk was only trying to defend himself when he stabbed 53-year-old Kevin Stockert at a residence in Mandan, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
Authorities say Stockert was stabbed nine times during a dispute over the return of a car belonging to Stockert’s girlfriend. Funk allegedly had been staying with her and hadn't returned her car.
Assistant Morton County State’s Attorney Chase Lingle told jurors Funk had a knife with him when he went to the residence and planned to kill Stockert.
Rose said video from the confrontation between the two men showed that Funk was still in the driver’s seat of a car when he was punched by Stockert.
Rose says Funk passed out from blows and tried to escape when he regained consciousness. The two struggled outside the car, and Funk stabbed Stockert when “he had no other option, no other opportunity, nowhere else to go,” Rose said.
South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland has ordered a presentence investigation.