Kenneth Davis’ shoulders sagged with a heavy sigh as he was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison for killing a friend during a drinking party in East Peoria last April.


Davis, 32, of Washington, received 10 more years for violating the probation term he was serving when he fatally slashed Aaron Petzold’s neck with his folding knife in Petzold’s home.


With good behavior in prison, he’ll serve half of the combined terms.


He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, in which he acknowledged that his claimed belief his own life was in danger in his shoving match with Petzold, 31, was unreasonable. Davis initially was charged with first-degree murder, punishable by up to 60 years.


His judge cleared the courtroom of the audience of about 20 to grant Davis’ request to hug his mother before he was led away.


He had recently finished a 10-month jail term with ensuing probation for robbing an elderly man of his wallet when he, his brother, his wife, Petzold and Shane Fischer gathered at Petzold’s home late last April 18.


They drank and smoked marijuana at the home at 1007 Meadow Ave. before the party turned violent, first with a fight between Petzold and Davis’ brother, a prosecutor said in court.


Davis’ brother left, Petzold fell asleep on his living room couch and the remaining three went upstairs, where Davis and his wife Kristin began to argue. Davis punched a wall, breaking his right hand in two places, as his wife went back downstairs to watch TV.


When Davis followed, Petzold awoke, got up and shoved Davis, who stood a half-foot taller and outweighed Petzold by 50 pounds, according to court records. Davis’ wife said she saw him take out his knife, then saw blood flying through the air.


As Davis told her and Fischer not to call the police, the two took Petzold to the bathroom to try to stem the bleeding, then carried him to a car which they drove to a Peoria hospital. Petzold, whose carotid artery and jugular vein were slashed, was pronounced dead soon after arrival.


Police found Davis several hours later at a Peoria trailer park residence. He initially claimed Petzold came at him with a kitchen knife that he took away, but accidently cut Petzold during their scuffle, according to court records.


Davis had also served a seven-year prison term for armed robbery.

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