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An Adelaide man who stabbed an associate in the heart, killing him, has been jailed for at least four years.

Abdi Abdullah Ali, 32, was acquitted of the murder of Matthew Scott Bristow but found guilty of his manslaughter after a trial by judge alone.

Ali, who came to Australia from Somalia as a young boy, had offered to plead to the lesser charge but it was not accepted by prosecutors.

Matthew Scott Bristow died on an Adelaide footpath after suffering a chest wound. (Supplied)

Mr Bristow, 43, died on February 5, 2020 with a trail of blood leading to where his body found on a suburban footpath.

Sentencing Ali in the Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Anne Bampton said there was insufficient evidence for her to make specific findings about the circumstances of the stabbing.

In the lead-up to the killing, the two men and a woman had been driving around in a car.

Bristow was found collapsed at suburban Prospect and died at the scene. (9News)

Justice Bampton said it had been submitted to her that both men were affected by drugs and there had been a dispute over a text message and over the music being played.

The judge said while Ali had not intended to kill, his actions were unlawful and dangerous.

“You took the life of a man, causing untold grief and distress to his mother, his cousin and other family members,” she said.

Justice Bampton said because a knife was involved, Ali’s offending could not be considered at the lower end of the scale.

She jailed him for five years and three months, taking into account his willingness to plead guilty to manslaughter, and set a non-parole period of four years, two months and 12 days.

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