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Farmington • A Bountiful man who pleaded guilty in connection with the 2015 fatal beating of his girlfriend's ex-husband was sentenced Wednesday to prison for up to 15 years.
Heneli (Henry) Kalainisi Kaufusi, 37, was charged in 2nd District Court with one count of second-degree felony murder for the Oct. 14, 2015, death of 37-year-old Sione Mangisi.
Last month, Kaufusi pleaded guilty to a lesser count of second-degree felony manslaughter, as well as a second-degree felony count of aggravated assault.
On Wednesday, Judge John Morris sentenced Kaufusi to one-to-15-year prison terms on each count, but ordered them to run concurrently, which prosecutors recommended as part of Kaufusi's plea agreement.
The fatal attack occurred in front of a Bountiful home, located in the 3500 block of Lexington Drive, where Mangisi's ex-wife and children live, and where Kaufusi also lived.
Kaufusi "struck, kicked and stomped on the victim multiple times, which resulted in the victim's death," according to charging documents.
Police believe Mangisi came to the home to see his children, but have said they do not know what sparked the confrontation.
Mangisi died at the scene while receiving medical attention. During a preliminary hearing last year, Utah Medical Examiner Pamela Ulmer testified that the victim had died of blunt force injuries to the head and torso, but said Mangisi's cardiovascular health may have also contributed to his death.
According to defense attorney Edward Brass, Kaufusi was attacked in his home and went too far in the process of defending himself, adding that he should be judged on how he led his whole life, rather than one incident. The prosecution said while Kaufusi's involvement in the fight may have started as self-defense, his actions surpassed justification.
Members of Mangisi's family including his mother and his sister said they forgave Kaufusi and said the concern now is the five children.
The two families remain connected by not only the tragedy and the children; Kaufusi's father and Mangisi's mother are cousins.
Kaufusi's girlfriend, Stacey Pahulu said her five kids three of whom she had with Mangisi saw Kaufusi as a father figure. The other two children, who Pahulu had with Kaufusi, were 11 months and two weeks old at the time of the fatal fight.
Addressing the judge, Kaufusi said he had been put in a situation where he needed to "fight to protect myself and my kids," and didn't think the fight would kill Mangisi. He owned a gun at the time of the fight, said Kaufusi, but hadn't gone for it.
In an earlier written plea agreement, Kaufusi stated that as the fight progressed, "the facts would no longer have justified my belief I was acting in self-defense." In the agreement, Kaufusi wrote he "struck [Mangisi] in such a way that I was aware created a substantial and unjustifiable risk that could result in his death."
The state relied on a witness who saw the fight as she and her husband drove by. She had seen a large man repeatedly punching and kicking another man, said prosecutor Brandon Poll.
The witness testified to seeing the aggressor stomping the victim's head, while the victim remained motionless for the majority of the fight, according to Poll. Poll read a transcript from the preliminary hearing of the witness testifying hearing Kaufisi repeatedly yelling, "F you" and "My house!"