Ewen Macdonald could be released from prison in December despite being sentenced to five years in prison today for a string of crimes leading up to the death of Feilding farmer Scott Guy.
The 32-year-old was sentenced at the High Court in Palmerston North for committing six crimes before Guy was fatally shot on the family farm in July 2010.
Macdonald was acquitted of murdering Guy in July this year.
The Parole Board confirmed that because Macdonald had already served 17 months since his arrest before the murder trial, he could apply for release as early as December.
Guy's widow Kylee had requested for Macdonald's jail terms to run consecutively, but Justice Simon France reduced his sentence because he made an early guilty plea.
Macdonald admitted setting fire to Scott and Kylee Guy's old house in 2008, the vandalism of their new home in 2009, and poaching trophy stags from a nearby farm then burying the carcasses on the Guy property. These charges were revealed during the murder trial.
Macdonald also admitted killing 19 calves with what is believed to be a ball-peen hammer in August 2007, destroying 16,000 litres of milk at a neighbouring farm the night before, and burning down a 120-year-old duck shooter's hut belonging to the same farmer a year later. These charges were revealed in August after suppression lapsed.
In sentencing today, the judge said he had seen the police video in which Macdonald confessed to the crimes and said the farmer did not seem remorseful and seemed indifferent to his crimes.
"You have written to the court expressing remorse and wishing that sentiment to be passed on to your victims of your various acts, you express shame at what you have done."
But France said "in the end I do not accept the submission", and he said he also does not accept lawyer Greg King's argument that his client had shown remorse.
"I have the advantage having seen your interview with the police at the time Mr Guy's murder was being investigated, that occurred after all these events for which you have now been sentenced. I have regard to your initial denials, and the manner of them, and then also to your subsequent admissions to this offending, and the manner of them. I saw in here no signs of remorse, indeed if anything there were statements consistent only with continuing indifference."
France told the court most of the crimes Macdonald committed were "highly premeditated".
The judge said the attack on the Guys' home was a targeted and cruel act intended to hurt the family which had a significant impact.
Macdonald was sentenced to:
Theft: Nine months for stealing trophy stags from a neighbouring farm.
Intentional damage: Nine months for releasing 16,000 litres of milk from farmer Nigel Sexton's property.
Wilful damage: Twelve months for killing 19 calves.
Arson: Two years for burning down the historic hut.
Arson: Two years for burning down Kylee and Scott Guy's old home.
Intentional damage: Two years for vandalising Kylee and Scott Guy's new home.
France reduced the sentence from five years six months to five years. He said Macdonald lost his marriage and has no capacity to pay reparation towards the damage.
Macdonald pleaded guilty to all six charges in court last year and has spent nearly 17 months in jail since his arrest.
In a letter to the Attorney General on September 10, Kylee Guy urged the Government to protect her, saying she would be forced to flee the country if Macdonald is released from prison.
She asked for his sentence to be served consecutively not concurrently, which would enable Macdonald to serve sentences for his crimes simultaneously.
But Attorney General Chris Finlayson said it would be "improper" for the Government to influence court decisions.