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FARMINGTON — A Bountiful man originally charged with murder for beating his wife's ex-husband to death pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
Police say Heneli Kaufusi, 36, violently attacked Sione Mangisi, 37, on Oct. 14, 2015, continuing to kick and stomp on the smaller man even after he lay motionless and incoherent. Mangisi died of his injuries shortly after.
Kaufusi is listed as 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 330 pounds, while police described Mangisi as 6 feet tall and 220 pounds.
A bystander who witnessed the attack and contacted police testified in a preliminary hearing last year that Kaufusi stomped on Mangisi's head and repeatedly kicked, punched and kneed him. He then took a cellphone picture of Mangisi laying on the ground.
"He was large, he was angry, he was bloody," the woman said of Kaufusi.
Originally charged with murder, a first-degree felony, Kaufusi pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter and aggravated assault resulting in bodily injury, both second-degree felonies.
According to plea documents, Kaufusi began fighting Mangisi "with the belief that I was defending myself."
"The fight continued to the point where the facts would no longer have justified my belief I was acting in self-defense," the plea states.
As the fight continued, Kaufusi continued to strike Mangisi in a way that he knew "created a substantial and unjustifiable risk" he would be substantially injured and die, the plea states.
Mangisi died of blunt force trauma to the head and torso, with existing hypertension and cardiovascular conditions contributing, a medical examiner found.
The two men exchanged text messages about child custody and visitation before the altercation, according a search warrant. Mangisi had previously been married to Kaufusi's wife.
Kaufusi faces potential prison sentences of one to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors will recommend that the sentences run concurrent.