Its been nearly five years since Kaylyn Whitaker was found dead in the home she shared with her fiancée on Halloween 2014.
Her fiancée, Connor Scott, 24, claimed at the time that she had shot herself — but more than four years later, he’d walk into a police station and confess to murdering the 20-year-old, stunning everyone involved in the case.
On Monday, Scott was sentenced to 37 years behind bars for the crime after Whitaker’s mother, Leslie Roberts, read a powerful victim impact statement detailing the devastation that murder has caused the grief-stricken family.
“Not only did he forever steal Kaylyn’s tomorrows, he stole ours,” Roberts said, according to PEOPLE. “Not only did he steal Kaylyn’s possibilities, he has stolen ours.”
Scott received the sentence as part of a plea deal he had reached for first-degree murder after confessing to the crime in February, local station WTHI-TV reports. More than four years after Whitaker died Scott walked into the Metropolitan Police Department in Danville, Indiana to confess to the crime on tape.
Authorities had been closing in on Scott after ballistics led to a re-classification of Whitaker’s death as a homicide 10 months after she was killed.
Scott had initially told police that he had been asleep in the basement of his family’s home — where he lived with his 20-year-old fiancée — when he heard a gunshot that woke him up.
But authorities would soon question that story after the physical evidence did not appear to match Scott’s version of events. While Whitaker was right-handed, the wound was on the left side of her head.
“It is my opinion that Kaylyn could not have shot herself in the location where the bullet entered her skull…the amended finding as a cause of death as a homicide best fits the situation in this case,” Illinois Appellate Prosecutor Ed Parkinson wrote after reviewing the case, according to Indiana station WTWO.
Just three weeks before he turned himself in, Scott threatened to kill himself if his current girlfriend left him, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. She called 911 and police later seized a loaded handgun from Scott, who had been “intoxicated” at the time.
Even as the years went on after Whitaker’s death, her parents continued to advocate for justice in the case. It was something they finally received Monday.
“It torments us greatly, the question of whether or not Kaylyn knew that her life was going to end,” Roberts said. “We pray that she knew not what had befallen her.”
Roberts described her daughter as a talented artist who had led a “radiant life” before she was killed.
As part of Scott’s sentence, he will not be eligible for early release and will be required to serve three years of probation after his prison time ends, WTHI-TV reports.
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