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Man sentenced to 11 years after previous murder conviction overturned

Danny Leon Mathis, in green, sits in Kern County court in Bakersfield, Calif., Tuesday, May 15, 2018, to be sentenced for voluntary manslaughter. Mathis was previously sentenced for a murder conviction in the death of a man who dated his estranged girlfriend, but that conviction was overturned by an appellate court. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – A man was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison after his previous murder conviction was overturned by an appellate court.

This time, Danny Leon Mathis pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the 2012 death of 22-year-old Ruben Torres.

Prosecutor Gina Pearl said Mathis was angered that Torres started dating his estranged girlfriend, and the two men fought. Torres was strangled, and his body was found in the trunk of a car.

Pearl said Mathis’ murder conviction was reversed by the appellate court, “essentially finding that some of the trial judge’s rulings, they didn’t feel were appropriate.”

The case was handed back to Kern County prosecutors, who decided to go after a voluntary manslaughter conviction this time, instead of another murder conviction. Pearl said that decision was based on a review of the evidence, the passage of time and the difficulty in locating witnesses.

She said Mathis was given credit for the time he’s already served in prison.

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