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Man gets 40 years for murder

A convicted murderer was sentenced to 40 years of time in prison this week for the September 2009 killing of a U.S. soldier.

Timothy Wayne Sanders received a sentence of 70 years, with 30 suspended, for the murder of Matthew Stephenson Jr. in a Nansemond Pointe Drive home on Sept. 4, 2009. Prosecutor Will Jamerson argued for life in prison, but said he was satisfied with the outcome.

Sanders was charged with first-degree murder, shoot/stab in the commission of a felony, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and maliciously discharging a firearm in an occupied building.

According to witness testimony presented in court in March, Sanders and Stephenson fought several times that night as they and others were drinking in the home. Sanders said they fought over using the computer to try to access a MySpace page; another witness said the men disagreed over the hometown of basketball player Michael Jordan.

Sanders said he became angry when Stephenson hit him with his fist and jabbed him in the eye. He left the house, retrieved a 9-mm semi-automatic Feg pistol, returned to the house and shot Stephenson four times — once each in the face, right arm, chest and abdomen.

Sanders contended that he was too inebriated to form intent, which is required by law for first-degree murder. Judge Westbrook J. Parker, however, disagreed, adding that Sanders should be on supervised probation when he is released from prison.