Lee Sentenced to 105 Years
*****UPDATED 10:45 P.M. MAY 28, 2014*****
WSIL-- A judge Wednesday handed down a sentence of 105 years behind bars for Donald Lee.
Lee was convicted two months ago of killing his girlfriend Brittany Andrews. The 23-year-old was shot in the head outside Vickie's Card Shop in Benton in May 2013.
Judge Tom Tedeschi heard passionate arguments from both sides in court Wednesday, all debating how long Lee should be in prison. He was ordered to serve a stiff sentence, based on his previous violent convictions and the horror of this murder. The judge called it the ultimate act of domestic violence.
"It's just a comfort to know he won't be able to do this to anybody else's family again," shared Kim Davis, Andrews' sister-in-law.
Davis had to drop out of classes to be at court regularly. She cried while reading a statement at the sentencing..
"We think about her every day. We love her, we'll never forget her," Davis said.
She told Lee she hopes he remembers Brittany's face as he killed her.
"It's closure, but now all we got now is Brittany's memories that we shared over the 23 years that we had her," she added.
The Franklin County State's Attorney asked for the maximum sentence, citing Lee's previous conviction for attempted murder and armed robbery in 1991. Prosecutors also mentioned Lee's two aggravated domestic battery cases involving Brittany just months before he took her life.
"The 100 plus years is really minute compared to ending someone's life, but we are happy that it's a significant sentence," Assistant State's Attorney Phillip Butler explained.
Prosecutors called the murder senseless violence that didn't have to happen. The judge agreed an extreme sentence was a necessity despite defense attorney Brian Drew's arguments against it.
"Obviously it was a very, very close case. The jury was out for a considerable period of time, a couple days, and at one point sent a note out saying they were split evenly 6-6," argued Drew.
When Lee addressed the court Wednesday, he did not admit guilt, saying " No way I would've done this."
Juror John Wiehn did not agree. He attended the sentencing.
"It was like I got to know Brittany, and through that I wanted to convey to the family that just we're sorry that this happened," Wiehn urged.
Many hope Brittany's death will save other lives, by showing how domestic violence can escalate. Lee will have 30 days to appeal his sentence.
BENTON -- An Elkville man has been sentenced to 105 years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend.
A Franklin County judge handed down the sentence to Donald Lee on Wednesday.
Lee, 40, was convicted in March of first degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and aggravated discharge of a firearm in the death of Brittany Andrews. Andrews, 23, was shot and killed in May 2013 in the parking lot of a Benton flower shop.
The conviction came during Lee's second jury trial. His first trial a month earlier was declared a mistrial after an interrogation tape played in open court included evidence that was not allowed.
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