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James Malec sentenced up to 15 years in the shooting death of former UFC fighter Justin Eilers


James Robert Malec was sentenced up to 15 years in prison yesterday (Nov. 13) following his Sept. 3 conviction of voluntary manslaughter in the 2008 shooting death of his stepson, former UFC and Elite XC heavyweight contender Justin Eilers, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Prosecutors pursued a second degree murder conviction against Malec, but the jury instead delivered the lesser charge.

Malec was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after shooting Eilers once in the chest on Christmas day in Canyon County, Idaho, in a domestic disturbance turned deadly.

Paramedics were called to the scene but were unsuccessful in their attempts to stabilize him.

Malec worked as a Canyon County corrections officer and dog handler in the late 1990’s and according to Eilers' mother, carried a firearm on a regular basis.

Problems arose when Eilers and his ex-girlfriend began arguing, which further escalated when Malec reportedly ordered Eilers to leave. Eilers refused and one witness reports Eilers challenged Malec to a fight before the shooting took place.

From Third District Judge Juneal Kerrick:

"You did not have the right to use deadly force when the danger was not imminent."

Eilers (19-7-1) was probably most known among casual fans for his three straight losses over a year’s span in the UFC. From February 2005 to February 2006 he dropped three fights — each by first round technical knockout — to Paul Buentello, Andrei Arlovski and Brandon Vera, respectively.

However, Eilers was on a very impressive streak before passing, having won 10 of his past 12 fights. After falling to Antonio Silva at EliteXC ‘Unfinished Business’ back in July 2008, Eilers was targeting a debut at light heavyweight to further refine his improved skill set and once again prove he was ready for the big stage.

The unfortunate news came barely a week after former UFC and WEC competitor Justin Levens was found dead - also by gunshot - in his California home.

Malec will be required to serve a minimum of six and a half years in prison.

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