Boise man pleads guilty to reduced charge in stabbing murder

Michael Downs, 25, of Boise
Michael Downs, 25, of Boise

Michael Ryan Downs could spend at least 20 years in prison for fatally stabbing a friend at a Foothills home in January, according to a plea deal entered Tuesday.

Downs, 26, had been charged with first-degree murder for the death of Daniel Ridgeway, but Ada County prosecutors reduced the charge to second-degree murder in exchange for his plea. Two additional charges, for drug possession and paraphernalia possession, were dropped.

He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 6, a year and a day after the stabbing. Prosecutors recommend a 40-year term, with eligibility for parole after 20 years, Deputy Prosecutor Chris Booker said. The judge could opt for a lesser sentence. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison.

Downs admitted stabbing Ridgeway in the abdomen with an 8-inch kitchen knife before dawn on Jan. 5 at the home of Downs’ parents near Windsong Drive and Toluka Way. He was initially charged with aggravated battery, but the charge became murder after Ridgeway died in late March.

Downs had been released from a mental health facility before the stabbing and had reportedly been taking methamphetamine, according to prosecutors.

Erin Fenner contributed