Family, Friends Say Goodbye To Murder Victim

By Mallory Lane

Published 12/22 2013 08:03PM

Updated 12/23 2013 12:54AM

HOLLIDAYSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY - It's more than a decade-old case that's gripped our region. A woman murdered by her own father-in-law, then buried on a remote farm land for 14 years.
Sherry Leighty's father-in-law, Kenneth Leighty killed her in 1999.
After police zeroed in on him earlier this year, he led them to her remains buried on a 150 acre farm in Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County.
With the permission of Sherry's family WTAJ attended the service Sunday in Hollidaysburg.
It took a long time, but friends and family are saying their final goodbye.
"Say our goodbyes, but I don't think there will ever be closure," Family friend Valerie Wyper says.
Wyper is one of about thirty people who attended Sherry Leighty's  funeral, something she says won't bring much closure.
Dawn Brunner agrees.
"I don't, I don't feel like it is. We'll never really know what exactly happened, not that that really matters because the end results the same, but no I don't feel like there's closure, really," Brunner says. "I was hugging her daughter in there and I can feel, I could feel grief. Grief for them, grief for her. They didn't know Sherry, like they never got to laugh with her like I did. Sherry was funny. She was a good, sweet person and you know it's sad that they didn't get to know her. They were robbed."
Police and Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic don't believe Kenneth Leighty is telling the whole story about what happened when he killed the young mother in 1999. 
Kenneth claims it was an accident.
Authorities say they don't have evidence to prove otherwise, and say even with Kenneth's help to find Sherry, third degree murder is likely they most they could prove.
"Now they have her body back, which was a task, too. Just feels good to be able to at least go through the motions, I guess."
It's little conciliation to her friends and family.
"I just think it's ridiculous," Brunner says. "Shelly said for 14 years, we didn't know and he's only going to do 7 to 14? Like he's going to at least do as many as we didn't know what happened to her."
Her family said during Kenneth Leighty's guilty plea last week, they understand, but they're not happy with the plea agreement.
"He's been free for 14 years, it's just not fair,” Wyper says.
Sherry Leighty had 3 children. She would be 37 if she was still alive.
Kenneth Leighty's sentencing is scheduled for February 27. It's the first opportunity for Sherry’s family to tell the court the impact her death had on them.

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