A SQUABBLE over $50 left one man dead after a shovel cracked his skull, causing an irreparable brain injury, and the mate who did it behind bars.
But Raymond Robert Millar, 50, could be out by Christmas if he starts his paperwork now for his parole eligibility on December 14.
Millar was sentenced to nine years jail on Friday after the Crown accepted a manslaughter plea instead of the original murder charge.
He has already served almost three years because he has been in custody since December 15, 2010 - three days after his friend, Jeremy Baird, 41, died.
Witnesses heard Millar and Mr Baird arguing inside the caravan-annex where they were staying at Coolum Beach Caravan Park on December 3, 2010.
They had made a strange phone call to Mr Baird's mother - who ascertained they were drunk or using drugs - making odd references to Queen Elizabeth and using profanities.
Millar was asking "where's my $50" as he raised the shovel and hit Mr Baird in the head, causing a loud thud and a bloody mess.
He then continued his verbal abuse as he dragged Mr Baird outside, then down to a service road.
Millar kicked him in the head and body, telling him to "get the f*** out of here".
When Mr Baird still did not get off the ground, he dragged him further to the park exit and left him there.
A couple found Mr Baird and called for help.
Justice John Byrne, in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday, said Millar was angry, drunk and likely opiate-affected.
He said Mr Baird's shovel injury caused brain swelling and his eventual death on December 12.
"Your alcohol, and probably illicit drug, fuelled aggression and serious violence took a man's life," he said.
"You used a weapon but after your attack with the shovel had ceased, you kicked your victim and you made no serious attempt to ensure he received medical care."
The court heard Mr Baird had a history of being violent while drunk.
Defence barrister Steve Courtney said his client began using marijuana at age nine, smoking cigarettes at age 11, alcohol at 12 and methylamphetamines at 14.
He said Millar was a qualified electrician but he injured his shoulder at age 43 and had been on a disability pension since.
Mr Courtney said Millar had a 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, noting his 24-year-old daughter died from a drug overdose.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.