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Man gets state prison in Erie stabbing over drug money

Posted on March 12th, 2019 at 5:10 PM

This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Madeleine O'Neill

A “drug deal gone wrong” led to a state prison sentence of up to a decade Monday for a man who was on parole and staying at a halfway house when he stabbed another man during a confrontation in August.

Matthew A. Esterbrook, 33, received five to 10 years in state prison from Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender. The sentence, which was in the standard range of state sentencing guidelines, included more than $17,000 in restitution for the victim’s medical costs.

Erie police charged that Esterbrook stabbed another man multiple times on Aug. 2 when the man traveled to Erie to repay a $1,200 drug debt for his girlfriend, according to charging documents.

“It was a drug deal gone wrong,” Esterbrook said Monday. “I took it a little too far. I was fueled by crystal meth.”

The victim suffered stab wounds to his left hand, neck and upper back during the confrontation in a parking lot in the 600 block of West 26th Street, police said. The victim told investigators that he met a woman in the parking lot and was working out the details of the payment when Esterbrook exited a vehicle and began attacking and stabbing him.

A second suspect struck the victim in the face with a rock, the victim told police. The other suspect was not identified, according to information presented in court.

Esterbrook pleaded guilty in January to a second-degree felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of possession of the instrument of a crime and reckless endangerment.

Esterbrook was on state parole at the time of the attack and was staying at the Erie Community Corrections Center in the 100 block of West Second Street, police said.

His lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Michael DeJohn, asked Brabender to consider a mitigated-range sentence.

Esterbrook’s prior record includes operating a methamphetamine lab and a theft case in Warren County.

“I don’t see one mitigating factor here,” Brabender said.

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