PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — A northern New Jersey man who fatally beat his 69-year-old neighbor with a metal pipe during a brawl over a missing toolbox has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jose Maldonado-Rodriguez of Passaic must serve 85 percent of the term imposed Friday before he becomes eligible for parole. He also will have to serve five years of supervised release once he’s freed.

Maldonado-Rodriguez initially was charged with murder in the death of Robert Cordero, a former police officer in Puerto Rico. But he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter last month in a plea deal with Passaic County prosecutors.

The deadly confrontation occurred in a Passaic apartment building where both men lived. Cordero was hit twice in the head and died several days later.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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