During today's brief formal proceeding, Senior Judge Stewart Kurtz pointed out that it took a plea agreement to put Kenneth Leighty behind bars for at least the next seven years for killing his own daughter-in-law 14 years ago.
The sixty six year old Leighty was brought into the courtroom with hands cuffed and legs shackled. During the formal sentencing, a sister of of his victim spoke directly to the convicted killer.
"I just wanted to let ken know not only did he ruin our lives, but he also ruined the lives of his own grandchildren. And now they know what kind of person he really is."
The brother and sister of murder victim, Sherry Leighty addressing the court wanted to make it clear that they felt their sister's reputation suffered because of her killer's actions.
"Most importantly the main fact that my sister didn't run off on her children, the simple fact that ken has lied and manipulated my nieces and nephew for fourteen years. They were too young to even know their mother that she was."
The family members said they would have liked a longer sentence as the result of his third degree murder plea bargain.
"I mean its just not right. He took somebody else 's life. He took another human being's life. It don't matter if it was my sister or not, murder should, they should be in jail for the rest of their life, at the very least."
While Judge Kurtz agreed this sentence did not fit the crime of murder, he pointed out that it was only with the cooperation of the defendant that the body of Sherry Leighty was recovered. Her relatives agreed that was an important part of this investigation.
"But he is being held accountable for what he did to our sister. And as Richard said, we have Sherry back. And that was the most important."
At the end of the sentencing, Judge Kurtz made clear that Leighty will be locked up for at least the next seven years and possibly longer. Relatives of the victims said they don't want to even think about the possibility of the convicted killer getting out eventually. Reporting live in Altoona, Kevin Flanigan WTAJ News.
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