For the second time, a Marshfield man has been convicted for killing his girlfriend, but he will not spend any more time in prison.
In 2009, Eric Mayer was charged with felony murder. Marathon County Sheriff's officials say he slapped his girlfriend, Cindy Tyler, causing her death.
But after some medical evidence went missing, prosecutors say the case was harder to prove.
A judge sentenced Mayer, 32, to 19 months behind bars--time he's already served.
"I know he's happy to return to his family, he's happy to return to his life and put this behind him," said Eric Mayer's attorney, Russell Jones.
Marathon County prosecutors say Mayer is responsible for the death of Tyler, 43. She was his girlfriend at the time.
Marathon County Sheriff's Department investigators say the two got in an argument at their home in Stratford, and Tyler kicked Mayer. They say Mayer then slapped her, knocking her unconscious.
"It turned on the medical evidence. It turned on whether or not a simple slap to the face was actually the cause of her death," said Jones.
Mayer's attorney says the slap didn't kill Tyler. Autopsy results showed she later died of a ruptured artery. When the prosecutors went back to check out the autopsy, they say it was incomplete.
"We were informed that the cervical spine section had been misplaced and was unable to be examined at this time," said Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Lance Leonhard.
Mayer was originally sentenced in 2010 to spend 10 years behind bars after reaching a plea deal. Mayer appealed, saying he got bad legal advice and wanted his case to go to a jury. Then last week, both sides came to a new deal.
"We were of the position that he should not spend another day in custody and fortunately with the judge's ruling today he won't," said Jones.
Protestors say they aren't satisfied with the end result, but say they hope this provides some closure to the victim's family.
"We insured that he was convicted of a crime of felony murder," said Leonhard.
Mayer's defense attorney says he's happy with the deal, but that the situation is sad.
"Ultimately, it's a tragedy that she's dead. And that can't be undone," said Jones.
Mayer was also ordered to be on extended supervision for the next six years.