A former actor who once played one of the Power Rangers in the children's superhero television series has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for stabbing his roommate to death with a sword, prosecutors said.
Ricardo Medina, 38, entered the plea Thursday in Antelope Valley court, admitting that he killed Josh Sutter after the two had a dispute at a Green Valley home in January 2015, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
He faces up to six years in state prison when he is sentenced this month, prosecutors said.
Medina was charged with first-degree murder in January 2016, one year after the fatal clash. Investigators said Medina and Sutter had argued over the way Medina's girlfriend had parked her car minutes before the stabbing.
As the argument continued, investigators said, Sutter forced his way into Medina's room. Medina grabbed a sword he kept by the door and stabbed Sutter multiple times before calling 911, police said.
Medina initially claimed that he acted in self-defense. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, when asked by a reporter in 2016 why it waited a year to charge Medina, did not offer an explanation.
Aside from one-off appearances on "CSI: Miami" and "ER," Medina was mostly known for portraying the Red Lion Wild Force Ranger in the children's show "Power Rangers Wild Force" from 2002 to 2003. He also played the villainous character Deker in "Power Rangers Samurai" in 2011 and 2012, according to his IMDb.com profile.
In a plea agreement, prosecutors reduced the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter in return for Medina's guilty plea.
Medina's attorney, Stanley Friedman, said it made sense for his client to plead guilty given that he could have faced life imprisonment if convicted of the original first-degree murder charge.
"It was an offer that was definitely worth it for him to take," Friedman said. "It mitigated his risk of potentially getting a life sentence."
Sutter, 36, moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to help his sister, Rachel Kennedy, open a business specializing in the sale of rescued dogs. The home where the stabbing took place was meant to be a haven for the dogs, Kennedy said, and Medina began living there after she hired him to care for the animals.
But Medina began acting erratically not long after he was hired, Kennedy said. The two argued frequently and at one point he threatened to release the dogs into the wild, she said.
Though she didn't think six years would be a long enough prison sentence, Kennedy was relieved to finally hear Medina admit guilt in the grisly slaying, she said.
Thursday would have been her brother's 38th birthday, she said.
"This was the first step in maybe getting some of my life back," Kennedy said. "We just want him where he belongs, and to start trying to live again. That's what Josh would want."
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5:30 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Medina's attorney.