LAWRENCEBURG — An Anderson circuit judge sentenced Terrence Allen Cram on Wednesday to 30 years in prison for the 2011 murder of his landlord, Tena McNeely.
Cram, 50, had pleaded guilty in April to the beating death of McNeely, 49. In a recorded statement to Kentucky State Police, Cram said he had used a sledgehammer to repeatedly hit her head.
Cram had lived for several years on the same rural Anderson County property with McNeely, who also doted on animals she'd taken in. The two had first met in 2003, when he returned to Kentucky after his wife's death in 2002 in Arizona. Cram was looking for a place to stay and McNeely was looking for a handyman.
"She trusted him and cared about him, and in return she was subjected to very violent acts," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Melanie Carroll.
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Reading a victim's impact statement, Katrina McNeely said her sister died a "horrific and brutal" death. Katrina McNeely said her sister was "my best friend" and "my support system."
"Her murder has caused my life to come to a screeching halt," she added.
Cram said nothing, and barely looked up from the defense table.
"He's a coward," Katrina McNeely said after the sentencing. "There's nothing he could say. I'm just glad justice is finally served."
Anderson Circuit Judge Charles Hickman sentenced Cram to 25 years on the murder, plus five years for tampering with evidence (he told police he discarded the sledgehammer in Florida) and another five years for fraudulent use of a credit card. Cram's total sentence is 30 years, and he will not be eligible for parole until he has served 85 percent of the penalty.
In imposing the sentence, Hickman said "no human being should have to suffer what she suffered. No sentence will bring her back."
McNeely was the daughter of Kentucky State Trooper James McNeely, who died in the line of duty during a flood rescue in the early 1970s.