A judge has sentenced Milan Urlich to more than 10 years in prison for killing a man he barely knew before making an amateurish attempt at covering up the crime.
Justice John Burns described the killing as a senseless act and said a motive was unknown and would remain that way without truthful evidence from Urlich.
He had rejected Urlich's claims that Andrew Carville had come at him with a knife, saying such behaviour was improbable given what the court had heard about Mr Carville's character.
An ACT Supreme Court jury acquitted Urlich, 31, of murder earlier this year but found him guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter.
The verdict of not guilty to murder, the judge said, meant the jury was not satisfied he intended to kill or cause Mr Carville grievous bodily harm.
Urlich also pleaded guilty to a charge of interfering with a dead body.
The man at first pleaded not guilty to murder, but on the third day of the trial he admitted he had killed the 52-year-old in Mr Carville's Evatt home about 10.30pm on November 4, 2015.
Urlich had been part of a group of people helping a woman move out of Mr Carville's home at the time.
While at the house alone, he claimed Mr Carville had come at him with a knife and he had reacted by putting him in a choke hold.
Urlich said he had held Mr Carville until he dropped the knife, only to discover he was dead.
The Crown case was that Urlich strangled Mr Carville by gripping his throat in a pincer like action.
The expert evidence, Justice Burns said, was inconclusive and he could only find that Urlich applied deliberate pressure to the neck with enough force and time to cause death.
Apparently unperturbed by the death, Justice Burns said, Urlich wrapped Mr Carville's body in a rug and put it on his ute, saying nothing to the woman he was helping move before dumping the truck in a paddock.
He stole a van from near the Australian War Memorial and fled to his brother's Victorian home.
When he returned to Canberra on November 14, Urlich returned to the truck and buried the body under several big rocks. He also tried but failed to set the truck alight with diesel.
Police found Mr Carville's badly decomposed body in a dry creek bed on defence land in Majura on November 19, 2015.
The court heard Urlich had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance use disorder. He suffered from auditory hallucinations, though denied to a psychiatrist they had told him to kill Mr Carville.
He said they told him where to go once he got into his car.
Justice Burns said as he sentenced Urlich on what he derived from the psychiatrist's evidence earlier this year was that Urlich's condition did not reduce his moral culpability for the crime.
His moral culpability was high, the judge said.
Justice Burns jailed Urlich for 10 years for the manslaughter and 12 months for interfering with a dead body, to run partially concurrent for a total of 10 years and six months.
He imposed a non-parole term of six years and 10 months.
With time already served Urlich will be eligible for release in February 2023.