A Santa Monica man who stabbed his friend to death in 2012 after a drunken fight was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison on Friday, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
Ryan Bright, 29, stabbed his friend Jensen Gray at a party in the 400 block of Broadway in downtown Santa Monica. Gray, who was 27-year-old Laguna Beach resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In December, a jury convicted Bright of second-degree murder. He’s currently booked in Men’s Central Jail near Downtown Los Angeles.
“According to witnesses, Bright stabbed Gray after he tried to intervene in an argument between him and another woman at the location,” SMPD officials said in a release following the conviction. “Witnesses told investigators alcohol was a likely contributor in the incident.”
Witnesses and SMPD officers testified in the two week-long trial. Forensic evidence was also presented in the trial, linking Bright to the killing.
Bright’s attorney argued that the he’d acted out of self-defense, claiming that Bright had sustained a stab wound of his own.
He said that Bright and Gray were best friends and that they were both drunk at the time.
The attorney questioned the credibility of the prosecution’s witness and argued that the conviction should have been, at worst, manslaughter.
Jurors deliberated for several days.
According to Daily Press archives, Santa Monica police responded to a stabbing call at 3:25 a.m. on a Wednesday in July of 2012. Once there, they heard a woman screaming and found Gray on the floor of the living room with multiple stab wounds. Witnesses placed the blame on Bright.
A quick search turned up Bright and the knife. Bright was arrested and has been in prison since the killing.
Gray was stabbed three times in the front and once in the back, according to Bright’s attorney.
The killing occurred at a party on the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street, in the Archstone apartments, which were built in 1931 as the Lido Hotel and deemed a historical landmark in 2001 for the Art Deco architecture and storied past.