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DAVIS MAN GETS JAIL TERM FOR SLAYING OF BROTHER

A Clearfield man who stabbed his brother to death after a fight last summer will spend at least 60 days in the Davis County Jail.

Judge Jon Memmott suspended a prison term for Michael J. Ruiz, 21, sentencing him to up to a year in the county jail instead. The judge also granted Ruiz work release and will review the jail time in 60 days.Ruiz pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, in the Aug. 20 stabbing death of his brother, Anthony Ruiz, 31. He was charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony.

Defense attorney Stephen Oda portrayed the elder Ruiz as a drunken bully who had argued with and beaten up his younger, smaller brother for years. Family members, including the dead man's wife, verified the scenario in letters to the judge, Memmott said.

The day of the fight, the younger Ruiz had warded off one attack by his brother by holding up a steak knife, Oda said. Anthony Ruiz left the house to go fishing but, halfway up Weber Canyon, turned around and went back to the house, specifically to attack his younger brother, according to Oda.

During that fight, Michael Ruiz was beaten and hit his head on a table, Oda said, and, fearing his brother would seriously harm him, picked up the same steak knife from the floor and stabbed Anthony once in the stomach.

Anthony leaped up and chased him out of the house before collapsing, Oda said.

The knife pierced Anthony's liver, injured a kidney and cut a major blood vessel, according to testimony at Michael's preliminary hearing. Anthony died of loss of blood several hours later in the hospital.

Memmott acknowledged the violent history between the two and that there was an element of self-defense in Michael's actions but noted it still resulted in the death of his brother.

The judge suspended a zero-to-five-year prison term, ordering Michael to spend up to a year in the county jail instead, to be reviewed in 60 days. He also granted him work release and said he will consider postponing the start of the jail time until after he graduates next month from the Davis Applied Technology Center.

Memmott ordered him to pay $3,500 in restitution, undergo a mental health evaluation and perform a 100-hour community service project in his brother's name.