SD man gets 100 years for killing girlfriend, putting body into moving carYANKTON (AP) — A Yankton man who admitted shooting and killing his girlfriend about a year ago has been ordered to serve 100 years in prison, a punishment the judge noted was basically a life sentence.
YANKTON (AP) — A Yankton man who admitted shooting and killing his girlfriend about a year ago has been ordered to serve 100 years in prison, a punishment the judge noted was basically a life sentence.
Nicholas Hines, 30, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree manslaughter in the April 2011 killing of Brianna Knoll, 25. He acknowledged in court in March that he fired the gun but said it discharged accidentally. He initially had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Hines will be eligible for parole in about 50 years.
"This court takes notice that the average lifespan of a man at this point is in the late 70s," Judge Glen Eng said.
According to media reports, Thursday's sentencing hearing lasted more than four hours. Some witnesses described Hines as a gentle, generous man who suffers from bipolar disorder and alcoholism, while others said he was a selfish, manipulative and jealous boyfriend who killed the woman who cared for him.
A slideshow provided by prosecutors included images of the door of Knoll's home that Hines kicked in after a night of heavy drinking, the assault rifle that he used to shoot Knoll and Knoll's car crashed into an apartment building, with her body inside the vehicle.
Authorities said Hines shot himself after shooting Knoll — causing permanent damage to his face — and they classified the incident as an attempted murder-suicide.
Hines testified again Thursday that the shooting was an accident but that "I claim all the responsibility and consequences. I will always live with this. It will always be fresh."
Eng acknowledged Hines' bipolar disorder and alcoholism.
"It may be a reason why a person is led to a certain point in their life, but it cannot be an excuse for the behavior," the judge said.
Jeff Knoll, Brianna's father, testified that the last words he heard from his daughter came during a phone call just moments before her death: "Dad, I really need your help."
"Those ... words ... ring in my head every day, over and over," he said. "My life has no normal anymore."More from around the web