Hiker who stabbed friend to death sentenced to 2 years in prison

CARLSBAD, N.M. - A Boston hiker who stabbed his best friend in the desert in what he called a ''mercy killing'' was sentenced today to two years in prison, followed by 13 years probation.

Raffi Kodikian, 26, pleaded no contest Monday to the stabbing death of David Coughlin. He could have been sentenced to up to 20 years behind bars.

Kodikian listened intently as the judge was giving his sentence. Kodikian's family was crying.

Coughlin's family was not in the courtroom, but had prepared a statement that they faxed to prosecutor Les Williams.

''We can think of no reason why Raffi would have wished David any harm or pain,'' the statement said. ''Moreover, we cannot presume to know what transpired, or the thoughts and emotions the two experienced during the days before David's death. To be sure, we have questions. However, we find it difficult to believe there was any malicous intent.''

During his sentencing hearing, Kodikian had recounted the moments that led up to the stabbing last August in the backcountry of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

The two were lost and had been wandering for three days without water when Kodikian said Coughlin begged him to end his pain.


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