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Ogallala man sentenced in 2017 stabbing case

Ogallala man sentenced in 2017 stabbing case

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OGALLALA — A 35-year-old Ogallala man was sentenced to three years in prison in connection with the stabbing death of John Fratis in 2017.

In Keith County District Court on Wednesday morning, Larry J. Derrera was sentenced to 24 months for each of the four amended felony counts of being an accessory to manslaughter to which he pleaded no contest on Aug. 28. Those prison terms will run at the same time.

Derrera — who initially claimed to be a witness to the stabbing — also received a 12-month sentence for possession of cocaine. That term will begin after the 24-month sentence ends. He was credited with 197 days served for that felony charge.

In addition, Judge Michael Piccolo sentenced Derrera to nine months of post-release supervision for the accessory-to-manslaughter counts.

Derrera was arrested May 22 and was initially charged with second-degree murder and six other felony counts: two counts of being an accessory to a felony and a count each of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, manslaughter, second-degree assault and possession of a deadly weapon while committing a felony.

Derrera’s arrest came three weeks after charges against the original suspect, Amadeus L. Leroux, 18, were dismissed. A review of DNA evidence on the weapon involved and other significant locations ruled out the Denver resident as the perpetrator.

According to court documents, the analysis reflected significant DNA evidence from Derrera and another individual who was in the Ogallala house where the 25-year-old Fratis was stabbed to death on March 28, 2017.

Both Derrera and the other individual — who has not been charged in Fratis’ death — gave testimony to law enforcement officials at the time that pinned the incident on Leroux.

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