A Livermore software engineer was sentenced today to seven years in state prison for his voluntary manslaughter conviction for the stabbing death of another man in a road rage incident in Livermore two years ago. Prosecutors had sought a murder conviction for Cort Holbrook for the death of Ricky Ziesmer, a 48-year-old Fremont man, in a confrontation in a parking lot on Old First Street in downtown Livermore near John’s Char Burger and the Livermore Cyclery at about 1:30 p.m. on March 9, 2011, but at the end of Holbrook’s trial in March jurors returned the lesser verdict of voluntary manslaughter.
According to Livermore police, when they interviewed Holbrook, now 43, he alleged that Ziesmer had started the incident by drifting into his lane several times and nearly colliding with him. When they later got out of their cars and started arguing, Ziesmer punched him several times, Holbrook told police. But police said Holbrook did not flee from the scene of the confrontation and instead called Livermore police and said he had been involved in a road rage incident.
Police also said Holbrook, who was driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, had several opportunities to avoid further conflict with Ziesmer, who was driving a gold Chevrolet Cavalier, after they encountered each other on the road but that Holbrook had chosen not to do so. Livermore police said the two men eventually pulled into the downtown parking lot and got into a confrontation.
Ziesmer punched Holbrook in the face twice, knocking him to the ground, but as the confrontation continued, Holbrook reached into his driver’s door compartment, retrieved a dagger and eventually stabbed Ziesmer in the upper chest and also stabbed the driver’s side rear door of Ziesmer’s car to prevent him from leaving, police said. However, Ziesmer was able to get away and drove himself to Valley Memorial Hospital in Livermore, according to police.
He subsequently was transported to the trauma center at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley, where he succumbed to his injuries at about 5:45 p.m. that day. In addition to sentencing Holbrook to seven years in state prison, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy denied Holbrook’s bid to be released on bail while he appeals his conviction.
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