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Ex-Marine Sentenced to 50 Years for Prof’s Killing

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – An ex-Marine who admitted killing a gay Indiana University professor two days after they had a sexual encounter was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years in prison.

Michael Griffin, 27, testified during Tuesday hearing that he feels remorse for the December 2009 killing of 53-year-old Don Belton. The Herald-Times reports that Monroe Circuit Judge Teresa Harper called Belton’s fatal stabbing a heinous crime.

Authorities said Griffin stabbed Belton 22 times with a knife that had a 10-inch-long, double-edged blade.

“You can’t take back things that you do or paths that you’ve trod. All you can do is move forward,” Griffin said. “While I can’t even begin to express how I feel about what I’ve done, it’s with a heavy heart that I move on.”

Griffin had claimed Belton, an assistant English professor, had raped him on Dec. 25, 2009, after a day of heavy drinking at Belton’s Bloomington home. He said he killed Belton two days later in a rage when he confronted him about the alleged assault and Belton insisted the sex was consensual.

But friends said such behavior would have been out of character for Belton, a writer who they said avoided violence at all costs.

“We all will suffer by the loss of his presence,” longtime Belton friend Mara Miller testified.

Jurors had the option of finding Griffin guilty of murder – an intentional killing – or the less-serious offense of voluntary manslaughter, killing someone in the sudden heat of emotion. The jury convicted him of murder.

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