A man who stabbed a drug associate to death in Kealba over an “ice” deal gone wrong has been sentenced to 10 years and six months prison.
Nuri Balla, 31, of Brooklyn must serve at least seven years and three months of his term after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 28-year-old Aaron Burnett, of Hoppers Crossing, and an associated count of arson.
In sentencing Balla last month, Supreme Court judge Terence Forrest said the sentence imposed “must reflect the community’s concern about young drug-fuelled men who use knives to settle differences”.
“The court has an obligation to try and deter this type of offending,” he said.
The court earlier heard that Balla was “in the business” of selling methylamphetamine or “ice”. He sold a small quantity to Mr Burnett who was dissatisfied with the quality. In telephone calls and text messages between the two, Mr Burnett asked for a refund or a replacement of better quality ice.
An arrangement had been made for the men to meet at the Caltex service station in Sunshine Avenue on July 3, 2016.
The court heard Balla and Mr Burnett both anticipated trouble and called on others to go with them to the service station meeting as back-up.
At 4.25am, Mr Burnett arrived at the service station with two associates. They had two baseball bats in the car.
Balla arrived soon after, also with an associate.
The court heard that after a conversation in the truck parking area of the service station a fight broke out, during which Balla stabbed Mr Burnett “a number of times with a knife”.
Shortly after the incident, Balla set fire to the car he had used that night.
The court heard Balla had a troubled childhood and a criminal history dating back to 2005.