- Associated Press - Friday, July 7, 2017

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho man has been resentenced for killing his ex-wife in 2011.

Joseph A. Thomas Jr., 43, was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison, with credit for six years served, the Lewiston Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2tyehsg ).

“I would trade (places with) her in a heartbeat, but I can’t,” Thomas said in court. “I know the hurt I feel for not seeing, hearing or holding my boys for six years. I can’t imagine what her mom, dad and stepdad, what they feel; I can’t even come close to that and I can’t change that, I know.”

Thomas was originally sentenced in 2011 to 25 years to life in prison.

Defense attorney Anne C. Taylor recommended a fixed 10-year sentence followed by a 20-year indeterminate term. She argued the sentence would allow for Thomas to build character and prove he can be a functioning, productive member of society.

But Judge Gregory FitzMaurice said Thomas has shown an inability to hold his emotions when involved with women.

“This is not a case of bad judgment; this is a case of the inability to hold emotion that explodes,” FitzMaurice said. “You had adequate time during this act to stop, pause, before the last embers of her life were extinguished. You did not.”

Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman said Thomas strangled Irby-Thomas while their sons slept in rooms just feet away. Thomas then tried to misdirect law enforcement and clean up the crime scene, Coleman said.

“She was a dearly loved friend and most importantly a mother of two young boys; those boys will carry that death with them the rest of their lives,” Coleman said.

Thomas will be eligible for parole in 2035.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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