Foos gets 9 years for ‘Birdman’ killing

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A judge today sentenced a man convicted of manslaughter for killing a popular northwest Aurora resident last year to 9 years in prison.

The sentence for Jeffrey Foos, 50, was a year less than what prosecutors asked for, but more than the 2-year sentence his defense team sought.

A jury in May convicted Foos of manslaughter for the March 2011 slaying of Timothy Blackburn, 53, near East Colfax Avenue and Havana Street. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury returned a lesser verdict.

A manslaughter conviction typically carries a sentence of between two and eight years, but judge John E. Popovich said the fact Foos used a knife and had a previous history of assaults warranted an aggravated sentence.

At sentencing Thursday, Foos apologized for the killing and said Blackburn, who was known in the neighborhood as “Bird” and “Birdman,” was his friend.

According to an arrest affidavit, Foos stabbed Blackburn with a large hunting knife during a dispute over Foos’ van. The van had been stolen and Foos believed Blackburn knew where it was, the affidavit said.

In an interview with police, Foos said he confronted Blackburn and Blackburn became angry and approached him with something in his hand. Foos said he stood up and kicked Blackburn, knocking the object out of his hand. He then realized the object was a knife, picked it up and stabbed Blackburn.