Monday, May 31, 2010

Proposed Massachusetts law would terminate parental rights of spouse killers

A Massachusetts legislator and a man whose mother was killed by her husband is attempting to pass a law that would automatically terminate parental rights of people convicted of killing their spouses. The law is gaining attention due to the case of a man who allegedly beat and strangled his wife in front of her two children.

Keith Rosiello, a Shrewsbury engineer, [is] facing charges of beating and strangling his wife. Prosecutors say Rosiello left his wife’s battered body on a couch before the eyes of his daughter and 6-year-old son. Rosiello, 45, is asking a judge to clear the way for his kids to visit him behind bars - a bid expected to be challenged by the state Department of Children and Families. Rosiello’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

The proposed law, known as Patrick's Law, was proposed by Patrick Holland, whose father is serving life without parole for killing his mother. The then 14 year old Holland fought off an attempt by his murderous dad to reconnect with him. Rep. Peter Koutoujian (D-Waltham) is the legislator who has been trying to pass such a law for the last 6 years.

With eight of 10 domestic violence homicides this year taking place in the home, Koutoujian, a former prosecutor, said: “I’m worried we’re going to have more cases like Patrick’s and more cases like the Rosiello children.”

According to Maureen Gallagher, policy director for Jane Doe, Inc. - The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, “It is unconscionable to require children to continue unwanted relationships with battering parents who killed their other parent. These children deserve every chance possible to start their life again in a safe environment."

Holland said that his adoptive parents, Ron and Rita Lazisky, taught him what it truly means to be a parent.  “It’s whoever’s in your corner,” he said. “It’s someone who gives you the stable foundation to help you to be your best. I know she wanted the best for me. I’m trying to live up to that.”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ex-soldier sentenced to 11 years to life in rapes of two women

A former soldier whose fellow servicemen are in Iraq will be serving at least 11 years in a Washington state prison for raping two women.  Nathan Ryan Smith, 31, plead guilty in March to 1 count of 2nd degree rape, another count of attempted 2nd degree rape, and 1st degree arson. He was a former cavalry scout for the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Prosecutors said he bound the women and choked them into unconsciousness before sexually assaulting one and attempting to do so to the other on separate occasions in January 2009.

The second woman managed to escape Smith's home despite being bound and gagged and notified police. Smith set fire to his house before fleeing to Texas, where he was later captured. He apologized to the women before being sentencing, saying he hopes the pain he caused them does not endure.

He also apologized to his fellow troops, saying "They're in Iraq right now, which is where I should be."

Wayne Fricke, Smith's defense attorney, requested a minimum of 9 1/4 years, saying that his client served his country honorably before the rapes. Assistant prosecutor Sven Nelson requested 12 1/4 years, saying that shocking one of the victims with a jumper cable connected to car batteries was "off the charts" brutality.

Superior Court Judge James Orlando agreed with the prosecution about the brutality, but not the minimum sentence, saying Smith's conduct exceeded what was necessary to prove rape. "I am still stunned, Mr. Smith, by what you did. You exceeded what a rape is. You are nowhere near deserving of a low-end sentence."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peoria, IL serial offender sentenced to life for rape and burglary of woman's home

A serial sexual offender with a history of preying on women and girls has been sentenced to life without parole. 46 year old William A. Malone of Peoria, IL was sentenced to the mandatory sentence Friday, May 21 for having burglarized and raped a woman with a history of alcoholism on June 19, 2009.

Malone used a key he obtained from the victim's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor and broke into her apartment. He tied her up, forced her to drink a concoction of drugs and alcohol and then sexually assaulted her. Prosecutor Donna Cruz told the judge that it was "abundantly clear" that Malone was a danger to women and children, noting the several prior convictions for domestic or sexual-related charges over the years. Cruz also keyed into the drug-alcohol mixture, noting that at one point, the victim's breathing had slowed so greatly that she was rushed into a trauma room at the hospital.

Illinois has a three strikes law for Class X felonies, which include aggravated criminal sexual assault among other crimes. One of his previous crimes included the sexual abuse of a girl he had met in church, and Malone had previous domestic and sexual violence convictions.

While the victim and police detectives who worked on the case were in Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid's courtroom for the sentencing, Malone was in his cell, participating in the proceedings through a videolink which was set up when he refused to leave his Peoria County Jail cell.

Malone refused to leave his cell and threatened to sue if he was forced to attend his sentencing hearing, so Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid used the courtroom's video-conferencing monitor, usually used for video arraignment or bonding court, to have Malone participate.

He could be seen sitting in a wheelchair with his head in a large garbage can. Malone's reason for not wanting to leave was that he was sick. Throughout the half-hour session, Malone could be heard spitting in the can. Throughout the case, Malone has been difficult, at times refusing to participate in hearings and remaining slumped over in a wheelchair as if he had no idea what was going on.

Malone protested to the court, "I didn't do this, I have never done anything like this. And now you are throwing me out like a piece of garbage. I am going to pray for you. I am going to pray for all of you..Just do what you are going to do so I can get back. I am sick." Shadid said after Malone yelled at him, "That's right, you are sick..You're a predator who found fresh prey." 

His "girlfriend," 23 year old Sorrel Blomley of Chalk River, BC, was sentenced to 10 years for burglary in a plea deal which required her to testify against Malone. Malone's life sentence is consecutive to the Knox County molestation charge, and will be followed by 30 years imprisonment for home invasion, failure to register as a sex offender and aggravated robbery.

Edmonton, AB killer sentenced to 17 to life declared dangerous offender by Canadian court

(Original Post 6-19-08)
A convicted killer with a history of violence against women was sentenced to 17 years in prison Monday for killing 36 year old Theresa Innes, whose body was found in a hockey bag in a home NE of Edmonton, AB in May 2006. He was found guilty of committing an indignity to a dead body for storing it in the freezer for 5 months before dumping it. Thomas Svekla, 40, was formally sentenced for 2nd degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence with a parole period between 10 and 25 years. (1st degree murder carries 25 to life).

The Crown (Canadian federal prosecutors) asked for that maximum sentence for Svekla because of his history of violence against women and the degradation of Innes’ body.

An example of his violence against women includes Svekla’s alleged attack on a High Level, Ab woman in the summer of 2005. He’ll go to trial later this summer for sexual assault and uttering threats.

The woman, who can't be identified, testified at Svekla's trial in Edmonton. She told the court Svekla attacked her and threatened to kill her after they shared a six-pack of beer and went back to his apartment.

Innes’ family testified at the sentencing how there was a hole left by her killing.

Outside court, the Innes family expressed satisfaction with the sentence. They also thanked Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson for his dedication to the case. But it will never take the place of the "hole in her heart," said Beverly Innes, Theresa's mother. Earlier in the day the court heard an emotional statement from Innes's son, Mike, who called his mother a "kind and caring person" who had her "up and downs."

"She never missed calling every weekend, on birthdays and Christmas. I remember her laughs and her jokes," Mike Innes told the court.

Svekla's actions have changed all that, he said, his eyes welling up with tears.

"She was not there to see me graduate, she won't be there to see me get married.… Those dreams were taken from me."

The defense attorney for Svekla, Robert Shaigec, conceded his client’s lack of remorse, but still asked for a non-parole period of only 15 years. Justice Sterling Sanderman of the Court of Queen's Bench presided over the four month long trial and the day long sentencing hearing.

Svekla was the first person tried under Project Kare, which is a joint RCMP/Edmonton task force which is probing the murders and disappearances of over 20 women in “high risk” lifestyles over the past 25 years.

(Update 5-29-10) Svekla was declared a dangerous offender Thursday, May 27 in a hearing presided over by Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Judge Christine Eidsvik. She said that a psychiatric report prepared by Canadian officials presented him as a sexual psychopath with a high risk of reoffending. Judge Eidsvik said that Svelka has a "pathology for which there is no cure...It is remarkable the number of people he has injured and harmed."

Besides killing Innes, Svekla was convicted of raping and threatening another woman in September 2008, and sexually assaulting a 5 year old girl back in 1995. Because of this history, Crown Prosecutor Ashley Finlayson said the judge's decision was the right one. "In our opinion, Mr. Svekla was a person with a history of violence against women, and based on the evidence that we had and which we called in court, it was our view he would not have been manageable in the community had he been released."

Kathy King, an advocate for sex-trade workers, said she was relieved with Svekla's designation. [Her] 22-year-old daughter, Caralyn, disappeared from the streets of Edmonton in 1997. Her body was found in a canola field in Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton, in September of that year."I am relieved that whatever happens with the appeal, he will not be out on the streets, because I really truly believe that the women of Edmonton deserve protection from that man," King said.

King said she would still like to know whether Svekla is responsible for her daughter's death.

Dangerous offenders must be held indefinitely until they can prove that they are no longer a unmanageable threat to society. According to Corrections Canada, there are 415 such offenders as of May 27, 2010.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Suburban Cincinnati man who dismembered wife after killing her sentenced to 26 years to life

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A man whose wife's torso was found in a garbage can at their home last year the day after he reported her missing was sentenced Tuesday [May 18] to 26 years to life in prison for murdering and dismembering her.

John Strutz, 31, of suburban Cincinnati, was convicted April 20 of one count of murder, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of abuse of a corpse in the slaying of Kristan Strutz, 28. Prosecutors said Strutz cut up his wife's body after killing her. Her torso was found in a trash bag in a garbage can outside the couple's suburban Delhi Township home Aug. 16, a day after her husband reported her missing.

Strutz testified that he did not kill his wife and repeated that claim Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. "You have made a mistake," he told Judge John West, who heard the case after Strutz waived a jury trial. "I am innocent."

Strutz acknowledged the prosecution's claim that the couple had marital problems but said they had been seeing a counselor and were again sleeping in the same bed. He also said that while he had seen a couple of women, he did not have sex with them or tell them he was getting a divorce, as some of them testified.

Assistant Prosecutor Megan Shanahan called Strutz a "sick degenerate." West told a defense lawyer after the sentencing that he thought Strutz was "evil to the core, and I don't say that lightly."

A message seeking comment from defense attorney Simon Groner was left at his office Tuesday. William Mathews II, Strutz's other attorney, said only that the sentence "wasn't any great surprise." Strutz repeatedly answered "I don't know" when questioned about what he thought happened to his wife.

A deputy coroner had testified that the cause of death could not be determined but the death was ruled a homicide, partly because the body was dismembered and an effort made to get rid of it. The couple has three daughters, and Kristan Strutz also had a son.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Couple sentenced to prison for rape of 17 year old girl


WORCESTER — A Clinton man and his one-time girlfriend were sentenced to prison [May 11, 2010] after they pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a July rape in which they held down the victim and took pictures of her.

Robert S. Cockerline, 23, of 230 Sterling St., Clinton, and Jerrica A. Gray, 20, of 120 Lawrence St., Fitchburg, each pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated rape and single counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, assault and battery and photographing an unsuspecting nude person.

Mr. Cockerline was sentenced in Worcester Superior Court to serve 12 to 15 years in prison for the rape charges. Ms. Gray received 5 to 8 years in prison. Both were sentenced to five years' probation; they are required to register as sex offenders.

According to Assistant District Attorney Anthony J. Marotta, the couple lured a 17-year-old female friend to Mr. Cockerline's apartment in Clinton on July 26. He said the couple first asked the victim to a movie, then Mr. Cockerline said he had some new puppies he wanted to show her. While in the apartment, the victim told authorities, she was given some orange juice that tasted strange, and moments later she was unconscious. Mr. Marotta said it is unclear whether Mr. Cockerline struck the victim in the head or the juice was spiked with some type of drug.

When the victim awoke, she found Mr. Cockerline on top of her, raping her, while Ms. Gray held her down and gave instructions to Mr. Cockerline, the prosecutor told Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. today. Ms. Gray also took pictures of the rape, which authorities were able to obtain in their investigation.

After the attack, the victim ran from the apartment, but her assailants followed her. Ms. Gray gave her a ride home to Lunenburg. The victim texted a friend about the assault. Police were notified. Mr. Marotta said Mr. Cockerline and Ms. Gray first denied being with the victim, but a neighbor had a security camera that caught the victim going in and out of the apartment.

The victim, now 18, and her mother sat in court during sentencing today. Mr. Marotta read the victim's impact statement to the court. “Yes, I was victimized by you,” the victim said addressing Mr. Cockerline. “I am no victim. I am not your victim. I am a survivor.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Central Pennsylvania prison guard sentenced to 23 months probation for sex with inmate

A former Pennsylvania prison guard was sentenced to 23 months probation and the sex offender list May 4 for having sex with an inmate at the prison where she worked and he was held. Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution - Camp Hill guard Rachael Hoerner's sentenced caps a plea deal presided over by Cumberland County Judge J. Wesley Oler Jr.

According to court documents, Rachael S. Hoerner, 39, of the 500 block of Lansvale Street, Marysville, Perry County, admitted her involvement with an inmate when she was interviewed by an officer with the state Department of Corrections' Office of Professional Responsibility.

Both Hoerner and the inmate told investigators they had performed sexual acts in a mop closet prior to the prisoner's May transfer to another state prison, authorities said. Investigators at that prison also discovered letters sent by Hoerner to the prison during a search of the man's cell, authorities said.

Hoerner was arrested July 24, 2009 on charges of institutional sexual assault and official oppresion. Under a plea deal, she plead guilty to the sex assault charge in January, which carries up to 7 years in prison, in exchange for the oppression charge being dropped. She's ineligible for any correctional or law enforcement job, but was found not to be a predatory offender by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board.

Mother of five's killer husband sentenced to life with chance of parole in 40 years

An Grand Chute, Wisconsin man who shot his estranged wife to death and attempted to kill her mother has been sentenced to life with the earliest possible parole eligibility date at January 1, 2050. Scott Schmidt, now 39, was found guilty of killing 39 year old Kelly Wing-Schmidt in her driveway. Outgamie County Judge John Des Jardins presided over the trial and sentencing, which took place Friday, May 7.

Kelly Wing-Scmidt, mother of five, was gunned down over an affair she was having with a man. Three shots to the head killed her on April 17, 2009, in front of her kids. The kids also saw their maternal grandmother, Barbara Wing get injured by bullets. The last thing Kelly said before she was rushed to the hospital and died was take care of her kids.

The authors [of Schmidt's pre-sentence report] discuss Schmidt's problem with alcohol. They include the results of a court-ordered mental evaluation in which Dr. Ralph Baker concluded Schmidt was seriously depressed.

In interviews, Schmidt explained to the authors one of the most controversial aspects of his trial testimony. He said one of their best conversations he had with his wife came after he shot her. It was because they weren't fighting or yelling, but simply talking, he said. "I guess the best was I can explain it is like being in the eye of a hurricane," he said. "The fierce storm that went on between us — fighting, yelling and swearing before — now was over."

Pre-sentence investigations are just one tool used by judges in determining a sentence. Des Jardins also listened to testimony, statements on behalf of the prosecution and defense, and arguments from the attorneys. Schmidt also addressed the court.

The investigators said they found it "remarkable" that Schmidt was able to maintain employment with the Appleton Fire Department in recent years given his excessive drinking. Schmidt, they said, should have taken an extended leave, vacation or even a psychiatric commitment in the weeks or months leading up to the homicide.

He was a troubled man hanging on to whatever he could during troubled times.

Letters in support of the killer echoed that last sentence. Kristin Stille, Schmidt's ex-wife, said that "My son has a right to love his dad, to respect him and also to be proud of all the many accomplishments as well as to be proud of his dad as a human being.”

Brian Cook, a coworker of Schmidt's, said “I trusted Scott with my life every day as a firefighter, and nothing has changed. To this day, I would trust him with my life and the lives of anyone in my family.”

The victim's mother, Barbara Wing, who was also shot when her daughter was killed, said "She should be here for her children. She should be a paramedic. She should be saving lives instead of having hers taken. I would gladly in a heartbeat give my life this very second to have Kelly back for her children. I would also gladly give Scott Schmidt's. Sadly, neither of those are options for us today."

"I believe that Scott Schmidt should get out of prison at the same time my daughter gets out of Riverside Cemetary," the victim's father, Tom Wing said.

Letters written to the court illustrate the toll taken by the victim's kids. Kay Heimerl, the therapist for the victim's two youngest children, said that “The negative impact of Scott’s actions on his daughter are permanent and lifelong and will only change in presentation as she gets older and progresses through her various life stages.”

"It's obvious to me that the [kids] are different. Their lives have been affected forever. I can see it in their eyes. Something is gone," said James Baker, her 17 year old son's father.

"I don't know about your remorse - I don't know how sincere that is - the only person who knows that is God himself." Public protection and rehabilitation were minor factors in Judge Des Jardins' sentence. "Punishment is a huge factor. The damage you have done - the pain, the anguish, the torment caused to the Wing family and their friends is incredible. The court should not depreciate the seriousness of the damage that you did by the eligibility date."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Repeat sex offender gets 25-30 years for attempted rape

A sex offender who attempeted to rape a woman on the grounds of Massachusetts General Hospital last year was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment Friday, April 30. Forty year old David Flavell, formerly of Brockton, MA, was convicted of 2 counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and assault with intent to rape in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday April 29.

The attack took place against a 27 year old woman in a Massachusetts General Hospital bathroom. After following her into the restroom and placing an "Out Of Order" sign behind him, Flavell tackled her and slammed her head into the floor and walls. After she went down, Flavell choked her and put his knee on her chest while attempting to undo her pants. He got as far as pulling down her zipper before she fought him off. Hospital employees found Flavell with his pants unzipped, and Boston police arrested him after the victim identified him.

Flavell normally would have faced a maximum of 20 years for the attempeted rape charges, but faces life after prosecutors proved that he had a similar assault with intent to rape conviction in 1998. He had other sex convictions between 1998 and 2001, and was listed as a Level 3 sex offender on the SO registry.

On Jan. 29, 2008, Braintree police arrested Flavell, who peered under a ladies’ room stall at the Borders bookstore on Grossman Drive, startling a 36-year-old Holbrook woman. “We consider his actions extremely serious and Flavell to be a very dangerous individual,” Deputy Police Chief Russell Jenkins said at the time.

Borders employees told Officer Michael Want that the woman, who left the store and later returned to speak with Want, was in a stall in the ladies’ room around 8 p.m. when a man stuck his head into her stall from underneath the separating wall, said nothing, and fled the area. A witness who saw the man in the area of the ladies’ room described him as wearing dark clothing, possibly a running suit, and carrying a black bag.

An employee described it as a black Adidas bag with white stripes and went on to say that the man spent two hours on the pay phone near the café, located close to the restrooms. Surveillance video showed the man to be light skinned with a short Afro and possible facial hair. He was of medium build and was wearing a black puffy coat, a dark colored Adidas sweatshirt, and tan or light brown pants.

In the Borders investigation, both witnesses were shown an array containing several photographs, including Flavell’s, and narrowed their selection down to two photos of Flavell and another person.

According to Jenkins, the victim viewed the same photo array on Feb. 19, 2008 and positively identified Flavell as the person who stuck his head into her stall. On that same day, a Brockton woman called McLaughlin, informed him that she viewed the photograph posted on Mass Most Wanted, and identified the individual as Flavell.

An arrest warrant was issued that afternoon, charging Flavell with annoying or accosting a person of the opposite sex as well as disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

McLaughlin and Detective Mark Sherrick, assisted by Brockton police, arrested Flavell that night at a donut shop in Brockton. At the time of his arrest, police said, Flavell was carrying the same backpack that he reportedly had on the night of the Borders incident, and inside it were three pairs of work gloves, a black ski mask, and a roll of duct tape.

Flavell was held at the Braintree police station pending his Feb. 20, 2008 arraignment in Quincy District Court, where he pleaded innocent and was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail. Flavell admitted on April 22, 2008 in Quincy District Court that there were sufficient facts to find him guilty. Judge Mary Dacey White sentenced Flavell to six months in jail with credit for 63 days served because he had been unable to come up with bail.

Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock sentenced Flavell to 25 to 30 years imprisonment followed by 10 years of probation. During probation, Flavell must undergo sex offender treatment and GPS monitorins. He is under a stay-away order from both the victim and the hospital.

Wife of Nashville attorney gets life in strangling death

A Nashville woman who got her husband drunk then strangled him by wrapping a cell phone cord around his neck was sentenced to life without parole for at least 51 years last Thursday. Kelley Cannon was found guilty of 1st degree murder in the strangulation death of her husband James "Jim" Cannon on June 23, 2008. The verdict and sentence were handed down by a Davidson County court Thursday, April 29, after an hour of deliberation.

A cleaning lady found his body in a bedroom closet in his 710 Bowling Ave. home. Kelley Cannon claimed she went to the home the previous evening and found the back door open and no sign of her husband.

However, investigations found discolored pants from bleach Kelley used to try to destroy DNA, and gloves stolen from a Walgreens which matched gloves found at the scene of the murder.

Witnesses called by the prosecution testified about forensic evidence that officials said link Kelley to the murder scene including the tip of a latex glove that contained her DNA.

Brad Putnam was the lead investigator in the murder case. He told the jury Wednesday he found a box of gloves at Kelley's home the day after Jim was found dead in his Green Hills home. "I noticed a box of latex gloves, and the name brand was Walgreens. The corner of the box was missing," said Putnam.

Prosecutors said the tip of glove found at the crime scene contains Kelley's DNA on the inside, and her husband's on the outside. The jury also saw surveillance video showing Kelley taking a box of gloves from a nearby Walgreens the same night as the murder.

In a phone conversation played to the jury Wednesday, Kelley explained to a friend that she used the gloves when coloring her hair.

Prosecution witnesses brought up implied Kelley's motive for the murder was anger at her husband's affairs, her anger of Jim's full custody of their 3 children, and to cover up her own affair. Rick Greene, a "lover" of Kelley, stated he believed Kelley knew about the murder of Jim. "I said look me in the eye and tell me you didn't know his body was in the closet. She said ‘Rick, I can't tell you anything because I don't want you to have to lie.'"

Aaron Bagley, a Smynra bartender, stated that she told him "He was flying women to come see him in other states. They were going through a divorce, and if he tried to take the babies from her that she would kill him."

Her attorney Peter Strianse, said at 5' 3" and around 100 pounds, she was simply too weak to commit the crime. He also tried to convince the jury that police did a sloppy job investigating the case. He argued they didn't check thoroughly on other potential suspects, and did not proceed carefully enough in evidence gathering.

Jurors found that  the victim's blood alcohol content of 0.15 and willingness of the defendant to murder overcomes body strength differences.

After the verdict, Jim's family offered this statement.

We are grateful to have this behind us. We feel that justice has been served, and thank the members of the jury for their careful attention to the facts of the case. Our family appreciates the efforts of the local authorities, and the support and well-wishes of everyone as we return our focus onto our family.

Kelley's mother, Diane Sanders, told reporters, "I still believe in my heart that my daughter didn't do this deed. There are some things that didn't come out that should have been."

Assistant DA Katy Miller said "Whenever there's a death involved and three children have lost their father, it's not victory but justice was done. Still it's a sad day all around." The children have filed a $40 million wrongful death lawsuit against their mother regarding their father's death.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Boyfriend" sentenced to 25 years for slaying of woman in NYU apartment

A man who choked his girlfriend to death inside her mother's apartment was sentenced to 25 years for 1st degree manslaughter Wednesday in a Manhattan courtroom. Michael Cordero plead guilty to 1st degree manslaughter in a Manhattan courtroom for the chance to avoid life behind bars.

Mr. Cordero, 26, pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter for the 2007 killing of Boitumelo McCallum, the daughter of two New York University professors. In exchange for his guilty plea, Mr. Cordero was promised a 25-year sentence.

The killing took place early Wednesday, August 1, 2007, at her mother's NYU owned apartment in Greenwich Village. Cordero was angry that his victim threw a bash inside the apartment without inviting him, and choked her to death so hard that her nose bled. After the slaying, Cordero wrapped a bloody towel around her head and wrapped it in bedsheets, which he stuffed between the bed and the wall of the apartment. On Sunday, August 5, tenants who sublet the apartment from the victim's parents found "Tumi's" rotting body and called police.

Justice Bonnie G. Wittner of State Supreme Court in Manhattan had said that she would not have accepted the plea deal without the parents’ consent. Ms. McCallum’s parents, Teboho Moja and Robert McCallum, did accept the deal, but they still had words that were both touching and harsh.

The victim's father said, "You made the relationship about power and domination, rather than about love and compassion. That is why Tumi was trying to move away from you. Tumi was scared of you. I tried as much as I could to protect her, but you did everything behind my back and that of our family to get to her one final time.”

The victim's mother also had a statement read for her by Manhattan Assistant District attorney Martha Bashford. “You barehandedly killed my child. Your hands are stained forever with her blood.”

"Michael Cordero added insult to injury by making us bury our loved one in unrecognizable image. Her decomposed body is buried and memories of her charming smile live in our hearts. Her infectious laughter and her voice calling out ‘mummy’ still rings in my ears.”

[Neighbors knew] McCallum as the bubbly daughter of the two professors. Her mother, Teboho Moja, is a professor at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.

Moja was part of the board of UNESCO's Institute for International Education Planning, appointed by then-South African President Nelson Mandela to draw up higher education reforms for the country.

The slain woman's father, Robert McCallum, is an adjunct professor in art education at NYU. "She was a regular girl, a pretty girl, a typical college student," said Dan Lee, a filmmaker who lived down the hall. "She wasn't edgy. She's not the type of girl who would get into trouble."

McCallum graduated from the Beacon School, a selective public school in Manhattan, in 2005 and attended Mills College in Oakland, Calif., for two semesters. But she had not returned to the college since finishing spring semester in 2006.

A native of South Africa, she moved to the city with her parents as a young child and while in high school worked for two years at the American Museum of Natural History learning how to isolate, amplify, sequence and edit DNA.

"She didn't have a green card and neither did I. We bonded over that in the lab," said her pal Bernard Laszczower, 19.

Cordero, in court, said that "Just living without her is a fate worse than death - or imprisonment," he said. "I know what I did was wrong. ... It was just something that happened." However, the victim's parents said his "apology" statement was just another self serving ploy designed to shift blame and minimize the impact of his crime.  McCallum said that "In the time that I've known him, he's always had an excuse for his behavior. One wants to be compassionate, but I'm sorry I couldn't be."

Moja said, He said, 'I'll die from loneliness.' We're all going to miss her. What about us? We weren't a part of his equation. If he can't have her, nobody else should have her - not another guy, not his family. I feel like I've seen him for the last time, and I want to keep it that way. Looking in the face of a killer is something that I cannot explain."