A heated argument outside of a Davenport nightclub nearly a year ago between Tremaine J. Gabriel and Christian Wood was over "totally stupid stuff,” a Scott County judge said Friday.
Judge John Telleen said Gabriel, 28, had the opportunity to walk away from the fight that occurred in the early morning hours of March 22.
“For whatever reason, you got into this altercation,” Telleen said. “What you did was just totally inexcusable.”
Telleen on Friday sentenced Gabriel to up to seven years in prison for fatally stabbing the 22-year-old Davenport man outside of The Chorus Line, 4128 Brady St., Davenport.
During the 30-minute sentencing hearing, Gabriel apologized for Wood's death and said he was trying to defend himself that night.
"I ain't no monster," he said. "I’m not no angel either. I just, I know you’re not going to forgive me. I still can’t forgive myself. I just want you to know that I’m truly sorry."
According to court documents, Gabriel was armed with a knife and stabbed Wood in the chest, above each one of his eyes and once in the back during the fight. When Gabriel stabbed Wood in the back, he twisted the knife causing a larger and deeper wound.
Wood fell to the pavement, and Gabriel ran from the scene, according to court documents.
Gabriel initially faced the more serious charge of second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty in January to involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and assault with a weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor.
Under a recommendation from prosecutors, Telleen dropped an additional charge of willful injury.
Gabriel also was ordered to pay $150,000 to Wood’s heirs and $7,500 to the crime victim assistance program. He has 30 days to appeal the sentence.
Gabriel was represented by public defenders Phil Ramirez and Amy Christen.
Ramirez called Wood's death a “tragic situation.”
“Obviously, that has impacted a family forever, and that has had consequences to Mr. Wood and his heir and his family,” Ramirez said during sentencing. “Mr. Gabriel has taken the responsibility for that.”
Gabriel has prior convictions for burglary and assault.