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Cort Holbrook

HAYWARD -- A Livermore software engineer convicted in the 2011 road-rage killing of a Fremont man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Tuesday.

Cort Holbrook, 42, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter on March 14 following an eight-day trial in Alameda County Superior Court for the fatal stabbing of Ricky Ziesmer.

Holbrook, who maintained he stabbed Ziesmer in self-defense during a March 2011 parking lot fight in Livermore, had initially been charged with second-degree murder. An Alameda County jury took two days to convict him of the lesser felony charge.

He has been incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail on $3 million bail since he was charged with killing Ziesmer in March 2011. Holbrook faced a minimum of four years and a maximum of 12 years in prison for the conviction, with credit for the two years he has already served.

On Tuesday, Judge Kevin Murphy handed down the seven-year sentence during a hearing at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Holbrook was convicted almost two years to the day after the road-rage incident, where he yelled an expletive out his open window at an erratically driving Ziesmer.

When Holbrook pulled into a parking lot to call 911, Ziesmer confronted him, punching him twice in the head, sending his glasses flying and knocking him cold to the ground. Holbrook then came back at his aggressor, stabbing him in the chest and puncturing both his lungs and heart. Ziesmer, 48, died while undergoing emergency surgery.

Erin Ivie contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.