Murder trial ends suddenly

Last updated 05:00 03/05/2014
Michael Valentine
REMEMBERED: The image used of Michael Valentine on his Facebook tribute page.

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Michael Valentine's stepfather says he is not happy the three men who killed his stepson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Stoyan Militch, 32, Brayden Windley, 23, and Michael Paul Zimmerman, 30, were on trial in the High Court in Palmerston North, each charged with murdering Valentine on February 1 last year.

Ambulance and police staff found 27-year-old Valentine on the front lawn outside his home on an unnamed gravel road off State Highway 1, 7 kilometres north of Levin.

He had been stabbed with a knife once in his chest and died at the scene.

The trial ended this morning, after all three pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Valentine.

They had already pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

After the pleas, Valentine's stepfather John Timmer-Arends said he was unhappy with the result, but had to rely on the advice give by the police and Crown prosecution service.

''It is not the outcome we wanted, but the outcome we have got and we accept it and have to live with it.

''In the final event, those guys went to another person's house with knives.

''Michael died, and he didn't kill himself.''

The family was still struggling to cope with the loss of Valentine, he said.

''We are the ones with the life sentence.

''Time helps you deal with it, but it doesn't bring forgiveness or make things okay.

''It will never be okay.''

Timmer-Arends said the family wanted to thank everyone who had helped and supported them in the 15 months since Valentine died, including those who continued to give them support.

The three men will be sentenced next month.

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