A Sturbridge man faces 20-years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter, after punching a man during a poker tournament in Southbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The man later died from injuries sustained during the fall.
41-year old James A. Walsh could face 20-years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a courthouse in Massachusetts this week.
45-year old Daniel McDonald died after Mr. Walsh struck him once in the face during a poker tournament on 16 March 2012. The incident took place in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Southbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts.
The prosecutor in the case told the court that Walsh ‘sucker punched’ McDonald after he had mistakenly heard the victim making a remark about his girlfriend. McDonald died from injuries sustained to the skull and brain after his head hit the concrete floor. He died eight days later in hospital. Judge James R. Lemire postponed sentencing until 30 Jan 2015. He would only say the delay was due to personal reasons relating to the defendant. He was later released on bail.
Reports in The Telegram said that Walsh wiped tears from his eyes as family and friends of the victims read statements regarding how they had suffered since the death of Mr. McDonald. In an emotional statement, McDonald’s daughter wrote: “He was my problem-solver, my shoulder to cry on … my best friend, my everything. It’s hard waking up every day knowing that I won’t see him again.”
Whilst sentencing recommendations were not made during the hearing, Judge Lemire told Mr. Walsh that he would allow him to withdraw his guilty plea if he felt he was going to impose a more severe sentence that the one proposed by the prosecutor Mr. Reidy.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter in the state of Massachusetts is 20-years.