A fight over a stolen dog that led to a Springfield man being killed last year and murder charges being filed against another man, ends in a manslaughter plea deal.

William Alspaugh's second-degree murder trial for the death of Dwight Scott was to begin today. But in a last minute deal with prosecutors last week Alspaugh's public defender, Chris Hatley, urged him to take the offer of seven years in prison.

Alspaugh (l.) entered an Alford plea to the May 18, 2008, stabbing death of Scott.
The plea means that Alspaugh did not admit killing Dwight Scott but admits that prosecutors have enough evidence against him to secure a conviction if the case had gone to trial.

Witnesses told cops that Scott believed Alspaugh had stolen a pit bull from him, and was looking for a fight with Aslpaugh. Aslpaugh and Scott eventually ran into each other at a home in north Springfield.

Scott died at a hospital after being stabbed in the chest in a shed at a home at 626 N. Kansas Expressway.

Hatley believes Alspaugh will serve about half of his sentence, and should be paroled in about three years.

Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Todd Myers said that as he prepared for trial it became clear that a manslaughter charge was more appropriate than murder charge.

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