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Abbas Gets Life Sentence For Murdering, Sexually Abusing Stepdaughter

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GALENA, Illinois - Terry Abbas, the man who pleaded guilty in October to murdering his stepdaughter in East Dubuque in October 2011, was sentenced to life in prison Friday afternoon.

Terry Abbas, 41, was charged with murdering his stepdaughter, Chyenne Kircher. Abbas had also been charged with two counts of sexual abuse and concealment of homicidal death. In October, Abbas admitted that he killed and sexually abused Chyenne, burying her body behind a home he lived in with Chyenne, her brother and her mother.

Abbas represented himself at Friday's sentencing, where he received the maximum for the sexual abuse and murder charges. Abbas read a statement saying, "I am truly sorry for everything I've done. I wish I could go back in time and put me in her place."

Before handing down the life sentence the judge also heard a victim impact statement from Kircher's mother, Lori Lyons. "I had to write my own child's obituary . . . Is life in prison justice?"

Lyon's also revealed how her family is dealing with the death of her daughter, saying that her 7-year-old son often asks her, "Why is sissy gone?"

Prosecutors asked the court for the maximum possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutor told the court that they believe Abbas confessed because he was caught and not because he was remorseful.

When handing down the sentence, the judge told Abbas, "You molested a child and dug her grave. You will get life in prison."

Chyenne, 14, disappeared in October 2011, and her case was originally treated as a missing persons case. At the time, officials said Chyenne had left a note indicating she was running away from home.

The case was re-evaluated in March 2013 at the request of East Dubuque Police Chief Steve O'Connell. Chyenne's body was found behind her family home in September following Abbas' arrest.

Law enforcement officials said that Abbas was arrested in September as part of their investigation into Chyenne's disappearance. Abbas was under investigation by a Critical Incident Response Team from the state of Illinois, which began its investigation in March.

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