Beverly man sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison for 2011 fatal stabbing

A 20-year-old Beverly man was sentenced today to 15 to 20 years in state prison for the fatal stabbing of 26-year-old James Vernazzaro in 2011, according to the Essex district attorney’s office.

Sajan Christensen was sentenced after being convicted earlier this month of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal attack on Vernazzaro on March 17, 2011, in Beverly. Essex Assistant District Attorney Kristen Buxton said in her sentencing argument that Christensen attacked Vernazzaro “over nothing more than words.”

“Justice was served today with this sentence,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. “This defendant, along with his friend, viciously attacked an unarmed man and left him to die.”

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The sentencing took place in Salem Superior Court. Christensen will receive 948 days of credit toward his sentence for time he’s already served in jail, prosecutors said.