NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – A 51-year-old Hatboro, Pa. man will spend at least 4¼ years behind bars after admitting he used a baseball bat to beat another man to death last year during a jealous rage over a former girlfriend.

Judge William Furber concedes that Thomas Bellezza didn’t bring the bat but says he had the choice not to use it when he got into an altercation over a woman with 53-year-old Robert Masten in February of last year in Horsham.

The judge today sentenced Bellezza to 51 months to 12 years behind bars.  Bellezza pleaded guilty in December to involuntary manslaughter, making terroristic threats, and possession of an instrument of crime (see previous story).

“Well, I can say that I’m pleased only because we got an involuntary manslaughter result on a case that could easily have been third-degree murder,” said defense attorney Charles Peruto Jr. afterward.  “I’m upset for my client because I truly believe that he is remorseful.”

Prosecutor John Walko says Bellezza chose to take the bat, raise it over his head, and then strike Masten in the back of the head. He says Bellezza made a series of bad choices that night and the tragedy could have been avoided.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE