A California man accused in the 2012 stabbing death of his friend during a stop in Clovis was convicted Wednesday of voluntary manslaughter.
Chip Fox, 37, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., was charged with second-degree murder.
A Curry County District Court jury took about two hours to deliberate, returning with a conviction on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, according to a press release from District Attorney Matt Chandler.
Fox’s victim, Kevin Reardon, 35, of Valencia, Calif., died of a single stab wound hours after a confrontation in August 2012 outside a relative’s home in the Clovis. The two and a female companion had stopped at the home during a road trip that took them to Austin, Texas, and South Dakota.
Prosecutors Andrea Reeb and Laura Sammons argued the trio were huffing a can of dust cleaner to get high during the trip and shortly before the stabbing.
Fox’s attorneys, Assistant Public Defenders Chris Christensen and Lauren Mullins, argued their client acted in self defense. Christensen also noted no testimony was offered at trial to prove Fox had inhaled the cleaner Dust Off just prior to the incident.
“We are happy to bring some closure to the family of Kevin Reardon with this verdict,” said Reeb. “The jury understood this was not a case of self-defense and rendered the appropriate verdict.”
Christensen said Fox was facing up to 20 1/2 years in prison under the second-degree murder charge. Conviction of voluntary manslaughter subjects Fox to a maximum 9 1/2 years in prison, according to Chandler.
District Judge Stephen Quinn is awaiting evaluations of Fox by the state Department of Corrections before setting a sentencing date.