KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — A West Richland man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for strangling his former co-worker to death.
William C. Lee was sentenced Friday in connection with the death of 53-year-old Alisa J. Brewer on Dec. 9, the Tri-City Herald reports.
Lee, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year. Prosecutors said he called 911 at 1:20 a.m. to report he'd killed a woman in his apartment and was going to kill himself. He was eventually taken into custody at the scene.
Brewer was found on the floor of the home with a belt around her neck and significant trauma to her face, head and body.
Brewer worked for Barnhart Crane & Rigging. She had been at an office holiday party earlier in the night before the celebration moved to a bar.
Lee joined up with his former colleagues, and there were "good times, laughs and dancing," Benton County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Howell said.
But less than an hour after leaving the bar, Lee called 911 to report that he had "made a bad decision" and Brewer was dead.
Howell asked Superior Court Judge Jackie Shea Brown to sentence Lee to 22 years, saying that while he expressed remorse during the 911 call, his regrets were solely self-centered.
"No amount of time can bring back Alisa Brewer. The defendant stole her from her family, her friends, from our community," Howell said. "Strangulation is a more severe form (of murder) ... She died at his hands, but she also suffered at his hands."
Defense attorneys Caleb DiPeso and Megan Whitmire asked for 15 years in prison, noting Lee's clean record before the murder and his guilty plea.
"Will can't undo the murder. He certainly wishes he could," DiPeso said. "He knows it was an immoral choice on his part, and he knows he made a grave mistake. But he called 911 and pleaded guilty."
The judge said while it was a monstrous act committed by Lee, he is not a monster and is not irredeemably evil.
"You can honor this tragedy by becoming the person you want to be," said Shea Brown. "At the end of the day, you still have life."
Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com