Man convicted of killing soldier has verdict reduced

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has ordered that the murder conviction of a man who fatally stabbed a National Guardsman be reduced to manslaughter.

Pablo Vargas, of Holyoke, was convicted in 2006 of first-degree murder in the 2004 stabbing death of Tremayne King.

Vargas was dating King’s estranged wife at the time. King came home on leave to find Vargas in his wife’s Springfield apartment. King was training for deployment to Iraq.

Vargas never disputed killing King. He said at trial that King was the aggressor and that he acted in self-defense.

The Supreme Judicial Court in its decision Tuesday said the evidence “supports the conclusion that the defendant killed the victim either as the result of reasonable provocation or through the use of excessive force in self-defense.”