Crime

Judge sentences Southworth to life for wife's slaying

Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell, left, talked with Donald Southworth on Friday during a bench conference with attorneys during the penalty phase of Southworth's trial. The jury deliberated a little more than three hours Friday before returning with a guilty verdict.
Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell, left, talked with Donald Southworth on Friday during a bench conference with attorneys during the penalty phase of Southworth's trial. The jury deliberated a little more than three hours Friday before returning with a guilty verdict. HERALD-LEADER

Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell sentenced convicted murderer Donald Southworth to life in prison on Friday.

The judge followed the sentencing recommendation of the jury that found Southworth guilty in the June 2010 beating death of his wife, Umi, after a two-week trial in January.

Donald Southworth, 49, will be eligible for parole consideration in 20 years. His life sentence came a day after Bunnell denied him a new trial.

Umi Southworth, 44, was found severely beaten on June 9, 2010. She was found lying beneath a box spring in a brushy area behind her home on Meadowthorpe Avenue. She was pronounced dead the next day, after she was removed from life support. The case drew international attention because police did not realize for hours after they arrived that she was still breathing.

Before Bunnell sentenced Donald Southworth, Tucker Richardson, one of Southworth's attorneys, told the judge that life in prison is unreasonable and asked she sentence him to 20 years.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson asked Bunnell to honor the jury's recommendation.

After handing down the life sentence, Bunnell advised Southworth of his right to appeal.

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