MISSOULA – A 25-year-old Missoula man accused of stabbing his roommate to death during a drunken fight and dumping the body into the Clark Fork River was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison.
District Judge Ed McLean sentenced Cyril Kenneth Richard II for the February 2008 death of 31-year-old Michael J. Meadows. Richard, who was initially charged with deliberate homicide, struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in April to negligent homicide. He says he was defending himself when he stabbed Meadows in the abdomen at the men’s apartment.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” Richard said to Meadows’ family at the sentencing hearing. “I believe it is paramount that you know I had no intention of hurting Michael. I hope that one day you can forgive me.”
Richard told detectives he stabbed Meadows after wrestling a knife away from him, and that both men were extremely intoxicated during the argument.
Richard also was sentenced to 20 years probation on two counts of evidence tampering because he cleaned the crime scene, wrapped Meadows’ body in a blanket and dumped it off a bridge into the river 30 miles west of Missoula.
Because he received credit for 847 days he served in the Missoula County jail, Richard will be eligible for parole in another 2 1/2 years. But he will not be released until he completes both chemical dependency treatment and anger management courses, and will continue to live under various levels of supervision until he is 65.