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Man draws life term in 2012 stabbing death of neighbor

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, at 3:36 p.m.

A Wichita man was sentenced Thursday to life without parole for 25 years for stabbing a neighbor to death more than 1 1/2 years ago.

Victor Gonzalez, 34, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the Jan. 29, 2012, stabbing death of Michael Salyer in Salyer’s apartment at 537 N. Emporia.

Gonzalez maintained his innocence during his trial, but prosecutors said his DNA was found on the victim’s clothing.

Prosecutor Justen Phelps described the crime as “a vicious and inexplicable act.”

“This is absolutely one of those cases where the sentence is justified by the defendant’s actions,” he told District Judge Joe Kisner.

Among those attending the sentencing hearing was Eufinia Salyer, who said her husband, Paul, was Michael Salyer’s older brother.

“He’s a very strong man, but he’s not afraid to admit that his brother’s death has devastated him,” she said. “You just don’t think anything like this will ever happen to your family.”

When given a chance to speak on his own behalf, Gonzalez told Kisner that he didn’t want to appeal, and he insisted he had nothing to do with Salyer’s death.

“I don’t know who killed him,” he said.

As for the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder – life without parole for 25 years – Gonzalez said, “20, 10, five, whatever, that’s fine. … I’ve been here 18 months. I’m ready to go.”

Kisner also sentenced Gonzalez to serve a consecutive 2 1/2-year prison term in an unrelated case that saw him plead guilty to burglarizing a mobile home in the 1900 block of North Waco, in November 2010.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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