CALDWELL -- A Nampa man accused of killing his stepson last Christmas will spend up to 15 years in prison.
Back in September, a Canyon County jury convicted 48-year-old James Malec of voluntary manslaughter in the death of 30-year-old Justin Eilers.
Eilers was a pro mixed-martial arts fighter and former Nampa High School wrestler.
Deputies say Malec shot Eilers in a disturbance that escalated during a family gathering on Christmas night 2008.
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that Malec shot Eilers in self-defense. The jury rejected that claim.
"The defendant, even in face of this jury's verdict continues to maintain his innocence, with an air of righteousness," said Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak. "Blaming the victim and the victim's family is inexcusable."
Malec must serve at least six-and-a-half years before he is eligible for parole. He will not be allowed to own a firearm upon his release from prison.
Prior to today’s sentencing, victim impact statements were read by Melanie Cox, the mother of Eiler's son, his brother and mother.
Third District Judge Juneal Kerrick said Eilers was partially at fault by being an instigator.
Witnesses to the incident said Malec was intoxicated when he shot Eilers.