GREAT FALLS, Montana — A 24-year-old Nevada man has been sentenced to five years in prison for negligent homicide in the death of a Great Falls man at a Fourth of July party in 2011.
Prosecutors alleged Mario Juan Drake punched 35-year-old Cody Palmer in the back of the head or neck, causing Palmer to fall down stairs and hit his head on the sidewalk. Palmer died of head injuries. Court records said Palmer had been "trash talking" during a drinking game and continued to tease Drake.
District Judge Greg Pinski on Monday accepted a plea agreement calling for Drake to be sentenced to 15 years in prison with 10 suspended.
In February, former District Judge Thomas McKittrick rejected an agreement that called for a 10-year commitment to the Department of Corrections with six suspended.