BOWLING GREEN — Eric Stice dropped his head into his hands and cried Thursday as the woman who killed his younger sister was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.
For Stice and his family, Kathy Michelle Coy's sentencing in Bowling Green ends the legal case stemming from the slaying of 21-year-old Jamie Stice, but not their suffering.
"There is no justice in this case," Eric Stice said after the sentencing. "Words cannot express what I would do to Kathy Coy if I could."
Warren Circuit Judge John Grise handed down the sentence Coy agreed to when she pleaded guilty but mentally ill last month to killing Stice and taking her baby boy alive from her womb. The plea allowed Coy to avoid a death sentence if convicted by a jury.
The boy, Isaiah Allen Stice Reynolds, survived and lives with his father.
Coy, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackled at the hands and feet with her hair pulled into a tight bun, did not speak during the sentencing. At times, as Stice's family addressed her and the court, Coy, 34, closed her eyes and dropped her chin to her chest. She showed no reaction as deputies led her from the courtroom after the hearing.
Grise said the word evil is used even for small disagreements or disputes, and is overused by attorneys and judges.
"Here, however, was evil at work," Grise said.
Prosecutors said Coy had befriended Stice on Facebook and used a stun gun to subdue the pregnant woman last April after luring her out of the house by saying they were going baby-supply shopping. Police said after Coy stunned Stice, she slit her wrists, cut the baby from her body and brought the baby, a uterus, ovaries and a placenta to a local hospital. The umbilical cord was still attached, police said.
Coy, who has children of her own living with other relatives, initially told police she gave birth to the boy, then said she bought him for $550.
Police searched Coy's home and computer, finding links to two pregnant women on her Facebook page. Investigators found one of the women unharmed, but couldn't find Stice. Coy eventually led detectives to a wooded area off a dirt road, where Stice's remains were found April 14.
Police found the stun gun and two knives believed to have been used in the attack.
In statements to the court and after the sentencing, Stice's family and friends were torn between condemning Coy and celebrating a murdered woman they called the "Little Angel Mom." Her cousin, Carolyn Miracle, said Jamie Stice had been "ready to be a mommy" when she was slain.
Kathleen Smith, the paternal grandmother of Isaiah, looked directly at Coy as she read a statement saying, "If you knew Jamie, you couldn't help but love her." Smith then lashed out at Coy, who closed her eyes.
"The death penalty would be too merciful for you," Smith said.
Miracle said her family was devastated by Jamie Stice's death, with her uncle unable to speak about it and others still haunted by the loss of the expectant mother. Miracle said her aunt, Jeannie Stice, had "her heart stomped on" by Coy.
"Kathy Coy decided she would play God and took our Jamie from us," Miracle said. "There's no amount of time you can give Kathy Coy that would be enough. There is a higher court that will judge Kathy."
Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron said Stice's family was "still filled with so much disbelief and grief," they were unable to express what they wanted to tell Coy and the court. Cohron then read a statement from Jeannie Stice about how "I was robbed of my baby girl."
"My heart breaks every time I sort through some of her things. It shouldn't be like that," Cohron read. "She should be going through mine."
Cohron described Stice's killing as something that's "unimaginable and always will be."
"Quite simply, this is one of those cases when I do not feel justice can be done," Cohron said.
After the hearing, the extended Stice family gathered in the cool sunshine outside the Warren County Courthouse and swapped stories and cigarettes as church bells rang in the distance. After a few minutes, they dispersed in groups of two and three, some with eyes still red from crying in the courtroom.
"It's heartbreaking, heartbreaking," Eric Stice said. "We'll just make sure Isaiah has the best life we can offer him. We owe that to my sister."