Nicholas Rasberry sentenced to 7 years in prison for killing Craig Kelloway

Nicholas Rasberry, the Calgary man who admitted to stabbing his new neighbour to death but claimed it was in self-defence from a sexual assault, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Calgary man stabbed and slashed new neighbour 37 times, claimed it was in self defence

Nicholas Rasberry walks into the Calgary Courts Centre just before Justice Robert Hall found him guilty of manslaughter (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Nicholas Rasberry, the Calgary man who admitted to stabbing his new neighbour to death but claimed it was in self-defence from a sexual assault, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

With credit for time served, he has five years and four months left to spend behind bars.

"Of course we're disappointed with the sentence," said Rasberry's lawyer, Hersh Wolch.

The prosecution proposed a 15-year sentence, while Rasberry's lawyer asked the judge for a far more lenient punishment of time served — about 13 months, before he was granted bail — plus probation.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Rasberry was found guilty of manslaughter in October for the 2013 death of his neighbour Craig Kelloway who is originally from Nova Scotia.

Three knives were broken in the attack. Kelloway was stabbed and slashed 37 times.

Rasberry and his wife met Kelloway and his girlfriend in their backyard in May 2013 and began drinking and barbecuing together. The festivities later took them from Kelloway's home to Rasberry's home.

Rasberry has never denied killing Kelloway, but has maintained that Kelloway threatened to sexually assault him. He also said he felt he needed to protect his wife who was sleeping upstairs.

The judge rejected that Rasberry was acting in self defence but did find he was provoked, which resulted in the conviction on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

In delivering his decision, Justice Robert Hall noted the number of stab wounds, the broken knives and the lack of injuries to Rasberry to be aggravating factors.

As mitigating factors, Hall noted the fact that Rasberry is a first-time offender, was cooperative with police, and called 911 in an attempt to help Kelloway after stabbing him.

Like every other day of this trial, the courtroom was full, with at least half of the people in the gallery there to support Rasberry.

"They all know he's innocent, they all know he was attacked," said Wolch. "They all know he and his wife were put in danger and they all know he was traumatized by it."

Bail breach arrest

Rasberry had been out on bail pending the sentencing but was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning for breaching his bail conditions.

He was allegedly caught drinking while acting as his parents' designated driver, shuttling them home from their Christmas party, according to Wolch, his lawyer.

The prosecution has already appealed the manslaughter decision, asking the Alberta Court of Appeal to overturn acquittal on the charge of second-degree murder.

Wolch has already indicated he expects to appeal the sentence.