By Amy Reynolds | Times of Trenton
on September 05, 2014 at 9:07 PM, updated September 05, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Cristian Lemus-Estrada (Mercer County Prosecutor's Office)

TRENTON - A Guatemalan native was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for an April 2013 stabbing death in East Windsor.

Christian Lemus-Estrada, 20, pleaded guilty in June to aggravated manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Lemus-Estrada was previously facing murder charges as well as weapon offenses after stabbing Carlos Tinizhanay-Arias, 28, after the two men fought in a residence in the Windsor Castle Apartments on April 13, 2013.

Prior to pleading guilty, Lemus-Estrada claimed self-defense and said the victim had choked him. Prosecutors have said the two men got into a fight in a mutual friend’s apartment.

Lemus-Estrada left to go to his home in the same apartment complex and returned about five minutes later with a knife.

Lemus-Estrada held the knife behind his back when entering the apartment and stabbed Tinizhanay-Arias once in the torso under his arm, prosecutors have said.

During the sentencing, Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley read letters from Tinizhanay-Arias’ parents.

“I don’t want revenge on the man who killed my son. I just don’t want him to have the opportunity to take someone else’s life,” the victim’s mother, who asked not to be named, said in a letter.

Nicole Carlo, Lemus-Estrada’s attorney, said that alcohol fueled the event, and the violence would not have occurred had Lemus-Estrada been sober.

“The alcohol does not negate the offense. However, he does want the court to know that his actions on that day did not come from a place of sober thinking, and had he been sober, this action would not have occurred,” Carlo said.

Lemus-Estrada must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence — 21 years, three months and one day, said Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier.

After he is released from prison, he will be deported back to Guatemala, Billmeier said, as he is in the country illegally and has a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer on him.