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Park Rapids man gets 18 months in death of best friend

The saga of two best friends who couldn't handle their alcohol ended July 3, 2010 with one going to the grave; the other to jail.

Monday Luis Candelaria, 48, was formally sentenced to 18 months in jail in the death of Richard Allen Hoskins of Park Rapids.

Hoskins' funeral program said he passed away at "41 years, 6 months & 11 days."

The men had spent the holiday drinking, boating and sunning, Candelaria testified in January. Their alcohol-fueled argument escalated like tinder by nightfall. Punches were exchanged. Hoskins lay dead in Candelaria's Park Rapids lawn with a head injury. Candelaria's frantic attempts to revive his best friend were futile.

Neither man should have been drinking that day, their families said, especially Candelaria, who was on probation for a previous alcohol-related incident.

Under the terms of a plea deal, Candelaria will spend one year in jail for violating his probation on that charge. He then will serve six months on a count of Third Degree Assault. He will be given credit for the seven months he's been incarcerated.

He will additionally serve 15 years of supervised probation, under which he is to remain sober, refrain from entering alcohol establishments and remain law abiding. He will make restitution in an amount to be determined. To date, those expenses are around $7,000.

He will be subject to random alcohol testing.

Families of both men have attended the court proceedings throughout the case.

Monday, Hoskins' girlfriend and "soul mate" Colleen Conley asked Candelaria to grow from his experience.

"Honor him appropriately," she said. "Use it wisely. Rick would have wanted it that way."

Hoskins' sister reiterated those thoughts.

"He would wish for all of this," said Tawnya Platz.

Candelaria will likely enter a long-term treatment facility once his jail time is served.