- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - A Guide Rock woman has been sentenced to life in prison for killing her boyfriend’s 68-year-old mother.

Shelley Casterline, 41, was sentenced Monday in Adams County District Court.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret what I did,” she said, according to the Hastings Tribune (https://bit.ly/1pshVJ2 ). “I’m very sorry. I took away a grandmother and a mother.”

Her son, Andrew, 24, was convicted last week of first-degree murder and other crimes connected to the Oct. 4 slaying of Virginia Barone. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15. His mother testified that he didn’t stab Barone but had merely helped him move her body, which was found partially covered by boards on Oct. 5.

The Casterlines were arrested that same day in Newton, Iowa. Police said the two had been traveling in a sport utility vehicle stolen in Cass County, Nebraska, earlier that day.

Shelley Casterline has said she and Barone got into an argument before Barone hit her, making her angry. She said she grabbed a knife, stabbed Barone in the back and later tossed the weapon into a cornfield.

Shelley Casterline made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. The lesser murder charge carries a sentence range of 20 years to life, compared with the mandatory life sentence carried in the original charge of first-degree murder.

Prosecutor Matt Lierman asked the judge to give Shelley life in prison, which drew comment later from Casterline’s attorney, Jeff Pickens.

“We expect she would be sentenced as a second-degree murder,” Pickens said. “The prosecutor is asking you to sentence her as though it were first-degree murder. I think it’s wrong to punish somebody for a Class 1A felony when they are convicted of a 1B felony.”

Judge Stephen Illingworth said he was giving Shelley Casterline life in prison because the brutality of the attack, the number of wounds and the evidence indicated that Casterline knew Barone was alive after the attack but left her to die.

“It is my intent that you spend the rest of your life in prison,” Illingworth said to Casterline.

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