Man pleads to voluntary manslaughter in brother’s stabbing death

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man who faced a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his brother pleaded no contest Monday to voluntary manslaughter and faces 29 years in prison. 

Ralph Valenzuela, 32, entered the plea in connection with the killing of 30-year-old Richie Vincent Valenzuela in July. The murder charge was dismissed. 

The officers who arrested Ralph Valenzuela found an 8-inch folding knife on him, according to court documents. There was fresh blood on the blade. 

A relative told investigators both brothers consumed alcohol and illegal drugs, and that possibly played a role in what happened, the documents said. 

A detective told a family member Ralph Valenzuela was responsible for the stabbing, according to the documents. She responded, “Yeah, he called me crying saying sorry. What does that tell me?”

Officers arrived at Gage Street around 12:30 a.m. July 25 as Ralph Valenzuela placed his brother in a car, the documents said. He told police he was trying to drive Richie Valenzuela to the hospital. 

Richie Valenzuela died hours later at Kern Medical Center. 

Sentencing is set for May 14. 

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