Posted: Sep 20, 2012 8:08 PM by Associated Press
STOCKTON, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri man has pleaded guilty to last year's beating death of an Afghanistan war veteran who he said had entered his home and begun "acting crazy."
Twenty-eight-year-old Anthony Cheek was initially charged with second-degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Chad Clayton. But prosecutors reduced it earlier this month to voluntary manslaughter, and Cheek pleaded to the charge Wednesday as a bench trial was about to begin.
The Springfield News-Leader reports Cheek, of Lockwood, was immediately sentenced to 15 years. But the judge could place him on probation after 120 days.
Clayton died in a hospital after being punched by Cheek, who said Clayton had head-butted him.
Family members said Clayton joined the National Guard after briefly attending college and served in Afghanistan in 2009.