(Jefferson City) – A West Plains man who pleaded guilty to the beating death of a West Plains resident has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
30-year-old Saul Martinez was sentenced June 4 at the Cole County Circuit Courthouse in Jefferson City on a change of venue from Howell County.
Martinez pleaded guilty to killing 41-year-old Ivan Prokopovich of West Plains on February 11, 2011. A probable cause statement used for the arrest stated that witnesses told the West Plains Police Department that Martinez was attempting to start a fight at a house party at 1231 Jefferson Avenue, and knocked Prokopovich to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the head and face.
Witnesses told officers that Prokopovich was unconscious and lying on the floor for about 30 minutes before someone noticed he wasn’t breathing and was turning blue. Prokopovich was taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, however by the time he arrived at the hospital, it was too late to save him.