Man sentenced to life for beating friend to death

Updated:

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. —

A man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for beating his friend to death eight years ago.

Terrence Irby is convicted of killing James Rock.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter James Schugel spoke with the victim’s family, which has waited a long time for sentencing.

“I miss my dad every day,” said Candy Rock, James Rock’s daughter.

James Rock was found in a pool of blood covered by a deflated air mattress in his Hamilton garage.

“And it makes me sick to my stomach to think the way he died,” Candy Rock said.

Authorities said James Rock was repeatedly bludgeoned to death in the head and cut in the neck in 2005.

According to investigators, they found James Rock’s gun in Irby’s car and Rock’s blood on Irby’s shoes.

“I did not kill my friend. He was my best friend. He did a lot for me. I did a lot for him. I loved him,” Irby said.  

A jury convicted Irby for killing James Rock two years ago, but the State Supreme Court threw out the conviction because Irby wasn’t present when lawyers and the judge agreed – by email – to dismiss potential jurors, which is a violation of Irby’s right to witness his trial-proceedings.

“I believed the local government had conspired to convict me, wrongly convict me, in the death of my friend just because I was there,” Irby said.

Irby faced a premeditated first-degree murder charge and burglary charge.  He fired nearly all his lawyers, and had no defense.

 “The trial came, you didn’t show,” said Skagit County District Court Judge Michael Rickert. “I believe you are stark, raving delusional, when it comes to this particular case.”

Irby was sentenced to prison for life.

“I truly hope my family and I do not have to go through this heartache and tragedy ever again,” Candy Rock said.