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