COEUR d’ALENE — A 21-year-old Rathdrum man and former high school football standout is charged with manslaughter after allegedly punching another man who later died from complications resulting from the blow.
Tyler Finlay, 21, a 2014 Lakeland High School graduate, is accused of punching Jeffrey Marfice, 29, in an altercation that broke out early Sunday on the 300 block of N. Fourth Street. Marfice was transported by ambulance to Kootenai Health with a head injury and died the next day, according to police.
Finlay, who was originally charged with aggravated battery appeared Monday in 1st District Court facing an amended charge of voluntary manslaughter. Bail was set at $250,000 despite a recommendation from his defense attorney for a lower bond.
Magistrate James Combo agreed with prosecutors who asked for the higher bond amount on grounds Finlay had previous DUI convictions, probation violations and fled the scene after striking Marfice.
“(The defendant) has past alcohol issues, a pattern of substance abuse problems, and following this event, he absconded,” Combo said. “He ran from the scene.”
It’s a volatile mixture that makes Finlay a danger to the public, Combo said.
According to police and court information, Finlay was harassing three women in downtown Coeur d’Alene at approximately 1:45 a.m. Sunday when Marfice assisted the women, including his girlfriend, Crystal Mobbs. Marfice, an accountant who owns a Spokane tax service, was allegedly struck by Finlay, falling and striking his head on the sidewalk.
Marfice’s condition deteriorated at the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, police said.
Detectives found Finlay late Sunday and arrested him after he admitted to punching Marfice once in the head. Marfice was pronounced dead Monday, police said.
Standing outside the Coeur d’Alene courthouse among weeping family members Monday afternoon, Lauren Richards said Marfice was a father whose 6-year-old daughter spent her birthday and Father’s Day in the hospital.
“She made a Father’s Day card in the lobby of the hospital,” Richards said.
Mobbs said the couple also had a 2-month-old at home.
“Why did this have to happen?” she asked.
Finlay, a construction worker, played football for the Hawks and was named the league’s 2013 MVP defensive player. If convicted, he could spend 15 years in prison and pay a $15,000 fine. Combo ordered a protection order for the three women in the event Finlay posts bond. A preliminary hearing was not set Monday, but the court will schedule a hearing within 14 days.