A Prosser man Wednesday was sentenced to four years in prison for the beating death of a friend while the two were heavily drinking.
Clifford F. Flett, 52, was given a sentence less than the standard range of about 5 1/2 to seven years because two separate evaluations found he has mental health issues that may affect his ability to understand the "wrongness" of what he has done, said Benton Coun-ty Prosecutor Andy Miller.
"This is a sad case all around," Miller told Judge Craig Matheson during the hearing in Benton County Superior Court. "I think 48 months is appropriate accountability for this case."
Flett was drinking with Jeffrey Alexander, 64, and they got into a fight at a home on Chaffee Road between Prosser and Benton City in October 2010.
Alexander was found outside the house moaning the next morning and was moved to a bus he was staying in on the property.
Some friends later checked to see how Alexander was doing and called 911 when they couldn't wake him up, court documents said. He died Nov. 5 at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
An autopsy showed he died from a blow to the head that caused a blood clot, and he also had infections in his lungs and excess fluid in his abdominal cavity, documents said. A forensic pathologist determined that Alexander died from homicidal violence.
At the time of the fight, Flett was wanted on an arrest warrant for failing to appear at a court hearing on allegations he failed to register as a sex offender. He wasn't charged with Alexander's death until December 2010.
Flett pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter as part of a plea agreement.
He initially was charged with first-degree manslaughter "based on the theory that while (Flett) did not intend to kill Jeffrey Alexander, his physical assault recklessly caused his death," Miller wrote in a court document at the time.
Earlier this year, Flett was ordered to undergo an evaluation at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake because of concerns about his mental health. State psychologists found he was competent, but delusional, Miller said.
Flett then was evaluated by a defense expert, Spokane psychologist Roy Mark Mays Jr., who found that Flett is not competent, Miller said.
Flett had few words to offer at his sentencing on Wednesday.
"I'm sorry this all happened. I'm sorry," he told Matheson. "There's nothing I can say."