Michael Chambliss was once a community leader.
The former Las Vegas city planner established himself as a political activist, businessman and philanthropist.
The 55-year-old was a man about town who consulted politicians and government officials.
But that life was erased on Nov. 9, 2005, when Chambliss stabbed to death a 26-year-old Nigerian-born boxer in a brief scuffle inside a 7-Eleven.
On Monday, a sobbing Chambliss, who pleaded guilty in June to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon in the death of Vincent Ekeoba, stood before District Judge David Barker and asked for mercy.
"I didn't mean to do this. I never intended to hurt anybody," Chambliss said as his deep, throaty voice cracked.
But Barker was not moved to leniency by Chambliss' apology and explanation of what happened.
"This is an act of extreme violence. You stabbed this man multiple times. A life's taken, Mr. Chambliss, and you have to be held to account for that," Barker said.
The District Court judge sentenced Chambliss to 12 years in prison. He could be eligible for parole in four years.
Chambliss had sought probation for his crime.
He told Barker during the sentencing hearing that he wanted go on providing for his family, including his 8-year-old daughter who has a heart condition. He wanted to go back to being a productive member of society.
Chambliss described using the rear entrance of the 7-Eleven on Torrey Pines Drive, near Charleston Boulevard, to pick up some business papers from Jocelyn Nixon.
Ekeoba, who was already there, accused Nixon of sleeping with Chambliss, defense attorney Peter Christiansen added.
A surveillance video of the fight then showed Ekeoba striking Nixon in the head, knocking her hat off. Christiansen said that's when his client, a southern gentlemen from Alabama, stepped in.
Chambliss told Barker he was scared of the professionally trained boxer. "I backed up. I've never been in a fight in my life. I don't know how to fight."
In the video, Ekeoba then strikes Chambliss and pushes him down, even as Chambliss appears to be stabbing the victim multiple times. Ekeoba died a day later from his wounds.
The 2005 slaying stunned many in Las Vegas who knew Chambliss as a peacemaker.
Before being sentenced, Chambliss presented to the court numerous letters of support from civic and religious leaders, including one from former Clark County Sheriff Bill Young, which lauded him as a peaceful man and an upstanding citizen.
Chambliss was known for helping to bring several million dollars in funding for economic development to the impoverished neighborhood of West Las Vegas, an area bordered by Carey Avenue on the north, Bonanza Road on the south, Interstate 15 on the east and Rancho Drive on the west.
Chambliss once served on the Citizen Review Board of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and also ran an AIDS awareness and testing group.
He worked as a consultant to former Clark County Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates and counted former state Assemblyman Wendell Williams as a close friend.
During the sentencing hearing, Christiansen told Barker he would be hard pressed to find a better candidate for probation than Chambliss. "There isn't a more remorseful guy. I implore the court. Take a chance on a man who deserves a chance."
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.