Man who stabbed housemate to death is jailed for five-years
A MAN who fatally stabbed his housemate in the heart when they rowed about food during a drinking binge was jailed for five years today.
Deivydas Zigelis, a 39-year-old Lithuanian, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter of Alexander Karpovs (26) by a jury in June this year.
Mr Karpovs, who was originally from Latvia, died of a single stab wound to the heart at his home on Spa Street in Portarlington on February 15, 2014.
Sentencing Zigelis to seven years at the Central Criminal Court, with the final two years suspended, Mr Justice Paul Butler said that when a “human being is stabbed to death in such circumstances that the charge should be murder”.
However, the judge acknowledged that the manslaughter conviction had been the correct one as the crime was “clearly not a premeditated killing”.
During the trial, jurors were shown photographs taken inside the house that the dead man and his killer shared.
The images showed that the floors had been littered with debris, broken crockery, drink cans and empty cigarette boxes.
Describing Zigelis as a “functioning alcoholic”, Mr Justice Butler said the killing “took place in a hovel”.
The judge added that the defendant “appears to be decent person” who has vowed never to touch alcohol again and has “shown genuine remorse”.
At a previous hearing, the Central Criminal Court heard how Zigelis told gardai “I killed my friend. I am a bad man” shortly after his arrest.
During that hearing last month, Mr Justice Butler was told that Zigelis had admitted to the killing inside Portarlington garda station hours after the fatal attack.
Garda Ann Deegan agreed with prosecuting counsel, Shane Costelloe SC, that Mr Karpovs, and Zigelis, along with another man, had been drinking heavily in the house prior to a row between the accused and the deceased which ended when the accused “punched” the victim in the heart with a steak knife.
Gda Deegan also agreed that the other man in the house at the time later told gardai that he only realised that Mr Karpovs had been stabbed when a puddle of blood began forming beneath the body and his face began to turn blue.
It was at this point, the court was told, that the defendant phoned the emergency services.
When gardai arrived at the scene, Mr Karpovs was already dead. A post-mortem later revealed that the victim had died as a result of blood loss.
The court was also told that that third man was so drunk that he made comments to gardai at the scene that suggested he had been responsible for the death.
But Zigelis later admitted to officers that he had been the “wielder of the knife” used in the attack.
A victim impact statement from the dead man’s mother, who lives in Latvia, was also read out in court.
The woman said her son had been supporting her financially and that his death had “taken away her only hope”.
She added that, as a result of the killing, she had been left feeling “stressed out all the time” and that she could not sleep.
Conor Devally SC, counsel for the defence, told the court that his client had regretted his actions and was remorseful.
Mr Devally added: “Mr Zigelis does not want to colour what happened in any way. He acknowledges that this was a dreadful event and an unfulfilled life was lost.”
During the trial, the court was told that Zigelis had sent Mr Karpovs out to buy cider and ribs that afternoon, but he arrived home without the ribs.
His housemate became ‘offended’ when he would not go back out for them and stabbed him with a kitchen knife.
The court was also told that both men worked as bin collectors during the week, but spent their weekends drinking alcohol at home.
The jurors saw photographs of their filthy house, the floors strewn with debris, broken crockery, drink cans and empty cigarette boxes. A garda testified that the only food he could see in the kitchen was a bag of sugar.
A friend of the two testified that he went to their house that morning because he couldn’t find any cider in his own home. They spent the day drinking; he and the deceased drank vodka and the accused drank cider.
He testified that he continued watching television when he saw the accused run towards the deceased with a knife because there were often conflicts in the house. He said he later saw blood, and the accused asked him where it was coming from.
The court saw CCTV footage of the deceased making a number of trips to an off licence that day. Mr Karpovs was also seen entering a butcher’s shop that afternoon but leaving without purchasing anything.
The accused told gardai that his housemate had returned from the shops with cider, but without ribs.
“I took the cider and told him go back to the butcher and get the ribs,” he said, explaining that his housemate had sat on the couch and refused to go back out.
“I got offended. I took a knife and hit him,” he continued. “I took the knife out of his body and put it beside the sink.”