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A 35-year-old man charged with first-degree felony murder for fatally stabbing a man outside a Sunset apartment building in September 2015, has accepted a plea deal.

Michael Scott Ennis, of Sunset, pleaded guilty Thursday in 2nd District Court to a lesser count of homicide by assault, a third-degree felony, according to Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland.

The charge includes a dangerous weapon enhancement, meaning Ennis faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced March 17.

Westmoreland said the plea deal was approved by the family of the victim, 31-year-old Tyler Eastabrook, who died at the scene from a single stab wound.

Prior to the official plea agreement, Ennis admitted to stabbing Eastabrook, Westmoreland said. The deal was based on "issues presented at the preliminary hearing as well as some further investigation," he added.

Defense attorney Rich Gallegos had previously said that his client would claim self-defense if the case went to trial.

On Sept. 15, 2015, the mother of Ennis' child returned from an apartment where people had been smoking meth to her own apartment and found Ennis there, she testified during a preliminary hearing last year. Ennis had come to her apartment because she had been ignoring his phone calls, she said, and she told him he should leave. At that time, Eastabrook — who also had a child with the woman — arrived with another man.

The two men followed Ennis out of the apartment, she said. Ennis allegedly told a police lieutenant — who also testified at the hearing — that he had picked up a kitchen knife from a box as he was exiting the apartment because he was worried Eastabrook and the other man would attack him. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, Ennis told the officer, Eastabrook began hitting him in the head and spun him around.

That is when Ennis swung the knife with his right hand, the officer testified. Police later found a knife, believed to be the murder weapon, on the other side of a fence on the property boundary.

The lieutenant also read transcripts of two voice mail messages Ennis left on the woman's cell phone. The second message read in part, "There's one less motherf——- down. One to go."

The lieutenant acknowledged there may have been a 10-minute gap between the stabbing and when anyone called 911, and in that time evidence may have been compromised.

Police found Ennis about 30 minutes later, hiding in a field about half a block away.

Many witnesses, including the man who was allegedly with Eastabrook during the attack, had been uncooperative with police, refusing to discuss any or some of what happened, the lieutenant testified.

The officer testified that the preliminary hearing was the first time he had heard people were using meth prior to the stabbing.

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