Marquest Hall, 17, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for stabbing Antonio Muralles to death after the man spilled coffee on him
A Connecticut judge sentenced a 17-year-old to 20 years in prison for the 2015 fatal stabbing of man who is believed to have spilled coffee on the teen, PEOPLE confirms.
Marquest Hall was just 15 when he stabbed Antonio Muralles, 52, a Guatemalan immigrant, outside a Stamford McDonald’s on March 11, 2015. On Tuesday, he was sentenced for first-degree manslaughter after pleading guilty to the lesser count as part of a plea deal, Hall’s attorney, Ryan O’Neill, tells PEOPLE.
“Marquest is remorseful and deeply regrets his actions. He knew that he must take responsibility for his actions and his plea of guilty was a product of that choice,” O’Neill says. “All he can do now is seek redemption through making positive choices for himself and his family. Based upon the young man I’ve come to know, I am hopeful that will happen.”
Hall was with 24-year-old James McLamb when they encountered Muralles near the fast-food restaurant that night, O’Neill says. Prosecutors argued that Hall was trying to instigate a fight that evening, poking people with a stick and harassing them, the Stamford Advocate reports.
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The three men bumped into each other and Muralles spilled coffee on Hall, O’Neill says. He adds that although the coffee did end up on Hall, the spilled beverage is not what caused Hall to stab the man in his arm and his heart.
“We deny that the stabbing was done because of the coffee ending up on Mr. Hall,” O’Neill tells PEOPLE. “The stabbing was as part of a confrontation, an altercation between Mr. Hall and Mr. Muralles.”
The teen was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge as part of a plea deal. He will be eligible for parole in 12 years because of his age.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, an official read a letter written by Muralles’ niece, according to the Advocate.
“We could give you a million reasons of why he didn’t deserve to die this way, but the truth is no one deserves to die over coffee,” the letter reportedly read.
“Our family will pray to God that he forgive[s] Hall and McLamb and they repent for their actions. We hope they use that time in jail as a way to think of the pain they caused because our family will never be the same again.”
McLamb pleaded guilty earlier this year to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting a second-degree assault — he was initially charged with murder. He accepted a plea deal in exchange for a five-year jail term, the Advocate reported earlier.
A judge is expected to sentence McLamb next month, the Advocate reports.