ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The man who killed a neighbor in a dispute over water will spend four years behind bars. A jury convicted Richard Maliszewski of voluntary manslaughter in the 2019 death of Christopher Yazzi. Yazzi’s girlfriend says she asked Maliszewski for water because her utilities were shut off but he yelled a racial slur at her.

Yazzi intervened and Maliszewski opened fire. While he claims he was threatened with a knife and a bat, the surveillance video showed differently. Maliszewski said Tuesday he still believes it was self-defense but he apologized to Yazzi’s family. “To borrow a phrase from the prosecutor, somebody died. That somebody was Christopher Yazzi. And he died because of my actions. For that, I am very, very sorry,” said Maliszewski.

The judge sentenced Maliszewski to seven years but suspended three of them. Maliszewski attended Tuesday’s sentencing from MDC’s medical ward because he is battling cancer.