Raymond Tenorio didn't deny beating and kicking to death a man inside a mobile home in Lake Isabella.
He said he killed 48-year-old Kirk Haag in a fit of rage after learning he had molested Tenorio's young daughter.
A jury found Tenorio not guilty of murder, instead convicting him of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Now he could have years shaved off his prison term following an opinion issued by the 5th District Court of Appeal.
Filed Wednesday, the opinion written by Administrative Presiding Justice Brad Hill orders Tenorio, 35, remanded to Kern County for the trial judge to determine whether to dismiss a prior serious felony enhancement.
The move comes after Senate Bill 1393, which took effect this year, allows a judge to decide whether those enhancements should remain or be dismissed at sentencing.
"By remanding the matter, we do not find that the court must strike the enhancement, but only that the court must consider whether to exercise its discretion in furtherance of justice pursuant to the newly-enacted statutory provisions," Hill wrote.
The enhancement stems from a 2009 felony assault conviction on Tenorio's record. It added five years to his prison term.
A date has not been set for Tenorio's return to Superior Court in Bakersfield. He is currently housed at California City Correctional Facility.
The night of April 24, 2015, deputies were dispatched to a double-wide trailer in the 1700 block of Curran Avenue where Tenorio and his family had been staying. Haag also lived there, as did others.
Deputies found Haag lying facedown in a bedroom, his head in a pool of blood. He stopped breathing before paramedics arrived, but deputies performed CPR and paramedics later stabilized his breathing.
Haag was taken to Kern Valley Hospital and later moved to the trauma unit at Kern Medical Center. He died five days later.
A pathologist determined cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and chest. Haag suffered bleeding and swelling in the brain. Broken ribs caused "massive" internal bleeding to his chest, the pathologist reported.
An arrest warrant was issued for Tenorio, who had fled the trailer before deputies arrived. He was arrested in Oxnard the day of Haag's death.
At trial, Tenorio testified he beat Haag days after his daughter told him he inappropriately touched her. He said he twice confronted Haag, the second time on the day of the assault.
During the second confrontation Haag told him something to the effect of, "I'm a child molester, what do you expect?" according to Tenorio's testimony. He then attacked Haag, continuing to beat and kick him while he was on the ground.
Tenorio acknowledged Haag did not fight back.
He testified he "lost control" when he beat Haag. The prosecution, however, argued enough time had passed between Tenorio learning of the molestation and the assault that he couldn't claim he killed Haag in the heat of passion.
Haag was a registered sex offender who had been convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in an unrelated case.