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Attorney cites 'chivalry and honor' before the sentencing for a man who landed fatal blow at Minneapolis bar

7December 2021

A Hennepin County judge sentenced a man to nearly nine years after his attorney argued that “chivalry and honor” prompted him to kill a man in a downtown Minneapolis bar.

Judge Jay Quam sentenced Erik Kravchuk, 30, to a term of 813 years Monday in connection with the death of 42-year-old Aleksandre Sambelashvili on July 28, 2019. The prosecution objected to Quam’s sentence and sought a term of 1212 years, which is what state guidelines recommend.

Kravchuk, of Golden Valley, was convicted by a jury in September of unintentional second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. With credit for time in jail after his arrest, Kravchuk will serve roughly 512 years in prison and the balance on supervised release.

“Erik Kravchuk is heartbroken at the role he played in [the] death,” his attorney JaneAnne Murray wrote in her presentencing motion, which asked Quam for a sentence of either 364 days in the workhouse and a lengthy probation or a combined prison and supervised release term ranging from three years and five months to 434 years.

“As he stated in part to the Probation Officer: ‘[The victim’s family] don’t have a loved one because of my decision. … I feel really bad for him [the victim], and I feel really bad for his kids. I am sorry every morning and every evening. I pray for him and I wish that they can forgive me.’ “

Murray added that Sambelashvili, of Maple Grove, was assaulted because he was making unwelcome approaches toward a woman at the party.

“Mr. Kravchuk acted out of a sense of chivalry and honor, responding to what he perceived to be extremely inappropriate conduct towards a female patron Mr. Kravchuk did not know,” the defense attorney wrote.

Murray added that “the case is devastating for Mr. Kravchuk too and his family. He faces almost certain deportation, and the end of his life and family ties as he has known them.”

Reached by phone Tuesday, Murray declined to reveal where Kravchuk was likely to be deported. Kravchuk is from Ukraine. Sambelashvili was a native of the Republic of Georgia.

Sambelashvili was an MBA graduate from the University of Minnesota who earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He authored 17 peer-reviewed papers and filed more than 25 patents, and he developed an algorithm that “became a key cardiac rhythm therapy feature in Medtronic’s products that helped hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from heart failure live fuller lives,” according to an online obituary.

For his final 15 years, he worked with Medtronic, most recently as a program director for the cardiac rhythm management division, the company confirmed.

Sambelashvili was survived by his wife, two young children, his mother and a brother.

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