A New Orleans man was sentenced to five years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to killing a friend while drinking vodka and wrestling in a backyard game room in Westwego.
James Ferrier, 45, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide before Judge June Berry Darensburg of 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna for the killing of Steven Knight, of Woodbury, Tennessee.
Ferrier and Scott Pomeroy were arrested in June after Knight died while the three men, all 45 years old, were drinking vodka — three liters among them — in Pomeroy's home on Oak Street.
Pomeroy and Ferrier initially told Westwego investigators that Knight had passed out after drinking all day on June 10. They said he had fallen several times.
But an autopsy found Knight had several broken ribs and his liver and spleen were severely lacerated, and all his injuries suggested blunt force trauma.
Police also noted that Knight had "numerous" bruises on his legs, arms and torso.
Pomeroy and Ferrier then told police that they had performed an elbow-drop wrestling move on Knight’s torso several times after he passed out.
Pomeroy said he found Knight on the floor in the game room without a pulse and they called 911.
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick did not pick up the charge on Pomeroy but charged Ferrier in July through a bill of information.
Ferrier said he did not intend to hurt Knight.
The killing was the first homicide reported in the Jefferson Parish city of Westwego since October 2015.