A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty and was sentenced for smothering his girlfriend to death after he tried and failed to kill her by deliberately crashing into a guardrail.
Prosecutors said Benjamin Klinger, 21, suffocated Samantha "Sammi" Heller, 17, after he attempted to kill her by crashing his car going more than 100 mph. Via Lancaster Online:
Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson told the court that on the morning of Dec. 4, 2012, Klinger, of Elizabethtown, was speeding westbound on Route 283, west of Strickler Road, when he crashed a 1986 Toyota Celica into the end of a guardrail at an estimated speed of 115 mph. Investigators found no evidence of braking.
A motorist, who came upon the crash and called 911, told investigators he saw Klinger sitting on a face-down Heller beside the car. A recording of the 911 call picked up a woman's moans, according to preliminary hearing testimony.
According to the arrest affidavit, Klinger was sitting on Heller's head when police arrived on the scene.
Prosecutors described a pattern of abuse over a two year period that Heller endured, despite concerns from her family. Heller's mother Sandy McFalls, addressed the court at the sentencing:
McFalls, in her statement, described Heller as a happy, charismatic and loving daughter who was excited about veterinary assistant studies at Lancaster Career and Technology Center. All that changed when she met Klinger, McFalls said.
McFalls said her daughter withdrew from family and friends, started failing classes and became disrespectful. "We began to do everything we could to keep Sammi away from Ben," she said.
But Heller continued seeing Klinger even after he became enraged and drove over her foot.
If there is anything at all to find in this story that remotely resembles something positive, it could be in the words of Judge Margaret Miller. Recently, we've had a lot of disappointing, depressing and downright enraging stories about judges who seem hellbent on victim blaming. But Judge Miller knows exactly where to lay all the blame for this horrific crime.
"There is no doubt in my mind you lived your life with a callousness, arrogance and a cowardliness, frankly," Miller said during the sentencing, "because being a bully is a coward....You treated (Heller) like an object, and when that object became an inconvenience, the object was removed from your path."
Klinger was sentenced to 23 to 46 years third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle. He was also sentenced for sending sexually explict photos of a sex act with a minor as well as additional drug charges.
Image via Lancaster Online.