A Wichita man will spend more than 33 years in prison for gunning down a 23-year-old man on North Broadway nearly two years ago.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Eric Yost on Friday afternoon ordered Manuel Rivas to serve 400 months on a second-degree murder conviction tied to the Nov. 6, 2013, killing of Eric Salazar.
Salazar was shot in the head during an argument over money after two men forced their way through the back door of a fourplex at 1835 N. Broadway shortly before 12:15 a.m. He died at a hospital.
Authorities arrested Rivas a few blocks away later that day. Jeremy Anspach, also charged with second-degree murder, was captured about a month later.
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Jurors delivered a guilty verdict against Rivas in March. He is 25.
Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorney Tyler Roush on Friday called Salazar’s death a brutal and “utterly senseless” killing.
He asked the judge to imposed the heftiest sentence Kansas law allowed against Rivas: 618 months.
“We lost a son, a father, a brother, a husband. He leaves behind two children,” Salazar’s wife, Maribel Rodriguez, said in a tearful statement to the judge.
“There will no longer be any birthdays, holidays or family events celebrated with Eric. Our family is forever broken.”
Rivas professed innocence in Salazar’s killing in a heated address to the court.
“They painted an awful picture of me, but I am not that man,” he said.
At the request of defense attorney Patrick Mitchell, Yost agreed to impose a lighter sentence than what Rivas could have received under Kansas sentencing guidelines. He explained that some of Rivas’ prior misdemeanor convictions used to figure the maximum prison term possible in his murder case were “very different from the type of crime here.”
Counting those “would be unfair under the circumstances,” Yost said.
Rivas on Friday also was ordered to pay $7,610 to Salazar’s mother. The money was to help cover her son’s hospital bills and burial expenses.