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Karate Kick Killer Sentenced to Four Years

February 3, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ A part-time stagehand convicted of killing another man with a karate kick to the neck was sentenced to up to four years in prison despite an emotional plea for mercy.

State Supreme Court Justice Rena Uviller on Thursday criticized Robert Wallace’s actions as a ″purposeless, unprovoked attack on a passive victim.″

She sentenced him to one and one-third to four years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in about 15 months.

Wallace, 21, was convicted Dec. 17 of criminally negligent homicide, the least serious homicide charge, for allegedly kicking Daniel Klagsbrun, 24, in the neck during an angry exchange outside a Manhattan bar.

According to testimony, Wallace challenged Klagsbrun to a fight the night of Jan. 24, 1988, after one of Klagsbrun’s friends insulted Wallace for wearing combat boots. When Klagsbrun refused to fight, Wallace attacked.

Relatives of both men wept in the packed courtroom as Wallace asked for mercy and as the judge pronounced the sentence.

Turning toward the Klagsbruns, Wallace said, ″This is hurting me about as much as it’s hurting them. ... I could say I’m sorry a million times and it wouldn’t change anything. It wouldn’t bring back Danny, but I think it has to be said.″

After the sentencing, the victim’s mother, Emilie Klagsbrun, said, ″Daniel lost his life because of a brutal, senseless murder. We love him and we all miss him deeply in our lives.″

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