Friday, 11 July 2008

Keys-in-throat killer gets 19 years

A man who bashed his 65-year-old neighbour and forced a set of house keys down his throat has been sentenced to almost 19 years in jail.

Forty-four-year-old Michael Barbetta pleaded guilty to murdering David Smedley on the NSW south coast in March last year.

The court heard Barbetta took a cocktail of amphetamines and sleeping pills before bashing and strangling Mr Smedley at his Fairymeadow home.

Police said the victim, who had Parkinson's disease, was found covered in blood. An autopsy found six keys on a metal ring had been forced down his throat.

Barbetta said he attacked his neighbour because he had made racist comments about his parents.

A Supreme Court judge sentenced Barbetta to 18-years-and-10-months, with a non-parole period of 13-years-and-nine-months.

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