Joshua Crawford claims he still loves the wife he fatally shot in 2016.
He also expressed remorse and offered an apology to Sarah Crawford's family.
“My actions that night are unacceptable,” he said this morning, standing before Butler County Judge William Shaffer in orange prison garb. “I still love Sarah and I live through what I did, every night.”
Moments later, Shaffer sentenced the 31-year-old Crawford to 10 to 23 years in state prison. He was given credit for already serving 592 days in Butler County Prison.
The prison term imposed at the defendant's sentencing hearing was in keeping with a plea agreement previously reached between his public defender and prosecutors.
Crawford last month pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in his wife's slaying on Dec. 4, 2016.
According to court records, he shot Sarah Crawford once in the chest with a .30-06 hunting rifle during an argument at their East Slippery Rock Road home.
The couple had been married for just three months.
Prosecutors originally charged Crawford with a general count of homicide, which encompasses first-, second- and third-degree murder, as well as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Prior to Shaffer handing down the sentence, Sarah Crawford's mother, Jennifer Baysinger, delivered a brief victim impact statement from a wheelchair.
“There's not too much I can say,” she said. “I can't explain. There are no words. The depression (is) so bad. I wasn't able to heal from surgery.”
Family said Baysinger has been confined to the wheelchair since suffering the complications of hip replacement surgery last year.
Pick up Friday's Butler Eagle to read the reaction of Sarah's family.