A neighborhood handyman has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in the beating and stabbing murder of an elderly north Philadelphia woman almost two years ago.
Jurors deliberated for a little over an hour Friday before convicting Leroy Wilson, 39, of first-degree murder in the June 2015 death of 85-year-old Regina Brunner-Holmes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Judge Glenn Bronson immediately sentenced Wilson to the mandatory life term, telling him he had killed the victim "in the most awful way anyone could imagine." The judge added a consecutive 22½ to 45 years on robbery, burglary, and weapons convictions.
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Wilson vowed an appeal, telling the judge "I forgive those who have misjudged me."
"I want to say to the family that I'm sorry for their loss and my prayers go out to them," he said before sentencing.
Defense attorney Earl G. Kauffman argued that Wilson got the victim' stolen property but didn't kill her, reminding jurors that his client's DNA and fingerprints weren't found in the victim's home or stolen car.
The defendant's former girlfriend testified that Wilson came to her home hours after authorities said the slaying occurred and told her "I caught a body," which she interpreted to mean that he had killed someone. His new girlfriend also reported being told he had killed someone. Kauffman called his client their "innocent dupe" and said the former girlfriend was trying to "curry favor" with prosecutors due to receiving stolen property charges.
Prosecutors cited cellphone records indicating that Wilson's phone was near the victim's home and surveillance video showing a man trying to use her stolen debit card.