On October 5, 2021, Humboldt County Judge John Feeney sentenced 42-year-old Brian Jon Leiteritz to 7 years - execution of sentence suspended - plus 5 years of probation and 365 days in jail for voluntary manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon.
The sentence means Leiteritz can be sent to prison for 7 years if he violates the terms of his probation.
The conviction stems from a 2019 incident in which Leiteritz killed Dylan Liakos with a kitchen knife in front of Leiteritz’ McKinleyville home, after Leiteritz had called 911 to report that someone had cut his power and was now at his front door. Injuries to the victim included a stab wound to the back; law enforcement officers found the victim on the sidewalk.
In September of 2020, after a 3-day preliminary hearing that included testimony from civilian witnesses involved in the incident, Judge Marilyn Miles determined that Leiteritz should face trial for manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon. (The original charges included second-degree murder.) Manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 11 years in prison; the use of the knife could add 1 year to the sentence.
On August 5, 2021, Leiteritz pled "open" to manslaughter and admitted the allegation. An open plea means the judge determines the sentence, just as they would after a trial leading to conviction. Leiteritz pled guilty in August after Judge Feeney indicated he intended to sentence Leiteritz to probation.
Deputy District Attorney Steven Steward prosecuted the case with the assistance of District Attorney Investigator Marvin Kirkpatrick and Victim Advocate Marybeth Bian. Attorney Michael Robinson represented Brian Leiteritz.