Craigavon Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC ordered killer Denver Cardwell to spend half his sentence in jail and half on licence but with time spent on remand, he will be free in just over three years.
As he was led away to the cells in cuffs, Cardwell smiled and winked at his defence lawyer.
Drug addict Cardwell, 26, brutally stabbed dad-of-one Marc Williamson, 21, to death in his flat at Hartfield Avenue, Portadown, on 14 August 2011.
He had been charged with his murder but at the end of his trial last May, the jury convicted him of manslaughter.
During the trial, the jury heard how he plunged the knife into Marc's neck before dragging him into the communal hallway, callously telling the dying man: "You're not f****** dying in my flat".
Once outside, Cardwell punched his bleeding victim in the face.
The jury also heard evidence that Cardwell calmly admitted the killing immediately afterwards, with one witness recounting how when he asked Cardwell if he had stabbed Marc he replied: "Yea, I f****** did it."
After he was arrested, Cardwell told police officers: "It wasn't murder - it was self defence", claims he later repeated while giving evidence on his own behalf.
He claimed the fatal wound was inflicted during a struggle but that he did not intend to kill him, telling defence QC Peter Irvine: "I certainly did not intend to kill Marc Williamson. I'm very sorry that it happened".
We got the life sentence.
Marc Williamson’s mother
Jailing Cardwell on Friday, however, Judge Lynch described his claims of accidentally stabbing his victim as "unconvincing" and "totally lacking plausibility".
He told the court it was only because "of the confusion of circumstances I express no view whether the attack was unprovoked".
The court heard that the stab wound which severed an artery and caused "massive bleeding" was at a 45 degree downward angle, a circumstance which was at odds with Cardwell's account.
"He failed to describe the sort of contortion on the part of the deceased that may have resulted in his moving onto the knife at an angle which would explain the direction of the wound," said the judge.
Judge Lynch said while a probation officer had assessed Cardwell as posing a significant danger to the public because of numerous issues such as his continued drug abuse - including while in prison - and his use of weapons in his previous two offences, he was of the view that Cardwell could be managed safely under certain licence conditions.
His assessment, he told the court, was in accord with the views of a psychiatrist and a psychologist who opined that if Cardwell dealt with his drug problems, he would pose less of a risk and that he has the intelligence to deal with the issues in his life.
"The best that can be said is that he never disputed that the stabbing of the deceased was by virtue of his action in wielding the knife which inflicted the fatal injury," said the judge.
Judge Lynch said he had also read victim impact reports from Marc's mother Barbara, who was sitting at the back of the court and that "one can only have the utmost sympathy if the bereaved family at the untimely and unlawful killing."
Speaking outside the court, Marc's grieving parents Barbara and Cecil lambasted the sentence as "a disgrace".
Mrs Williamson said they had received a "life sentence."
"I will still be paying for the child's funeral when he is out walking the streets again," she said.
"It's a big kick in the face," said Mr Williamson, adding that it was "no justice for my son".
Mrs Williamson also revealed that the family will be meeting their solicitor Gabriel Ingram and writing to PPS director Barra McGrory because in their view the jail term was "unduly lenient".