The man accused in a beating death in St. John's last year pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Supreme Court Tuesday morning.

Kenny Green, 35, had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Joey Whalen, 47, but that charge has been dropped.

Whalen was taken to hospital in critical condition after being beaten at a home on Tessier Place, but later died from his injuries.

According to the agreed statement of facts, read in court on Tuesday afternoon, Green was selling cocaine from the house.

Green said he believed Whalen was going to rip him off; he assaulted him, and said the force used was excessive.

He added that he beat Whalen with his fists. The court was told Whalen had been selling cocaine for Green, as well as using the drug. 

Green said Whalen told him he was hurting and was going to rip him off, and he believe Whalen was going to take him out.

According to Green, he spotted something shiny in Whalen's waistband. Police found a blood covered knife in the living room where the assault happened.

Court was also told Whalen died from blows to the head, which caused swelling in the brain and caused blood supply to be cut off.

Police believe based on blood splatter patterns Green struck Whalen in the head at least twice.

The court was told Tuesday that the Crown would be withdrawing the second-degree murder charge, and Green would be pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Family and friends of Whalen said they were shocked by the change, and did not see the plea coming.

A charge of manslaughter comes with a shorter sentence than if Green had been convicted of second-degree murder.

Green also re-elected to be tried by judge alone; the jury was dismissed from court.

The court was told there will be a joint sentencing recommendation for Green from the Crown and defence.

Sentencing is set to take place on Friday.

With files from Glenn Payette