MURRIETA ( — An off-duty Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced Thursday to 40 years to life in prison for the shooting death of an unarmed man during a dispute at a Murrieta bar.

Dayle William Long, 44, was convicted Dec. 12 of second-degree murder, plus a sentence-enhancing gun-use allegation in the 2011 death of 36-year-old Samuel Vanettes of Winchester. A Murrieta jury spent about a day deliberating before convicting Long.

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Prosecutors say at least 11 people witnessed Long shooting Vanettes at point-blank range inside Spelly’s Bar & Grill, 40675 Murrieta Hot Springs Road, on the night of Dec. 21, 2011. The victim had gone to the bar with his sister and several friends.

Witnesses said Long had been at the bar with a retired colleague for several hours before the attack. Vanettes invited Long to take part in a game of team darts, which the off-duty deputy did, parting company with his friend and continuing to drink beer and hard liquor, prosecutors said.

Just before 8 p.m., Long and Vanettes argued about whether a certain street was located in Orange County. Vanettes’ friend, Danny Burnside, told investigators that Long became belligerent and challenged Vanettes to fight outside.

According to the criminal complaint, Long stood up, removed a compact .45-caliber handgun from his waistband and leveled it at Vanettes and his friends, then sat back down.

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Long denied pulling his gun until the actual shooting.

The situation escalated, with another of Vanettes’ friends shouting at Long and posturing aggressively as the former deputy backed away from the table. Witnesses say Vanettes approached Long in an attempt to defuse the situation, which resulted in some shoving, according to a bartender.

The 10-year law enforcement veteran then pulled his gun a second time, and shot Vanettes six times from at least five feet away. Long testified that Vanettes tried to take his pistol from him.

The victim was hit by four bullets — in the chest, shoulder, abdomen and cheek, according to an autopsy. He died at the scene.

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