MOSCOW -- Russian actor Mikhail Yefremov, an outspoken Kremlin critic, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for killing a person while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Judge Yelena Abramova of the Presnensky district court in Moscow found Yefremov guilty on September 8 and sentenced him the same day.
When the trial started on August 5, Yefremov pleaded not guilty, insisting that he couldn't remember anything that took place in the evening of June 8. But on September 3, he suddenly changed his stance and said in court that he was admitting guilt.
Prosecutor Diana Galiullina had asked the court to sentence Yefremov to 11 years in prison.
Judge Abramova said in pronouncing the verdict that the testimony of three witnesses who said that Yefremov was not alone in his car when it hit another vehicle in June was inadmissible.
Police say Yefremov was inebriated when he drove his car at high speed into an oncoming lane in central Moscow on the evening of June 8, hitting another car.
Yefremov was not injured in the accident, but the driver of the other vehicle, identified as 57-year-old Sergei Zakharov, was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries and died hours later.
After Zakharov was pronounced dead, Yefremov was charged with "causing a deadly traffic accident while driving under the influence" and placed under house arrest.
Authorities later said that medical tests confirmed that Yefremov had traces of drugs, including cocaine, in his blood at the moment of the accident.
Performances by the 56-year-old Yefremov satirizing President Vladimir Putin and his policies have been very popular in recent years.