Convicted Killer Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison
By Vanessa Miller, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A 29-year-old Johnson County man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend two years ago pleaded guilty this morning to second-degree murder, and he was sentenced to the mandatory maximum sentence of up to 50 years in prison.
Eric Osborn originally was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after investigators said he admitted to hitting Sarah McKay, 34, with a baseball bat and then strangling her on March 7, 2010. His case was scheduled to go to trial July 10, but Osborn pleaded guilty to the lesser second-degree murder charge this morning.
“All this time I have tried to find something to say to all of you,” Osborn said after pleading guilty Friday. “There are no words for what happened. … You are all good people and shouldn’t have had to go through this.”
“From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry for you all,” he said.
Family members of McKay also spoke during the sentencing hearing, including McKay’s mother, Kathy McKay.
“You killed her, and all her family died with her,” McKay said. “The pain and agony is unimaginable. We miss you so much. Sarah was a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend and coworker.”
McKay reminded Osborn that her daughter was a mother, and her now 11-year-old daughter will not have her mother with her for the milestones in her life.
“You brutally murdered Sarah Elizabeth McKay, and I will never forgive you,” she said.
Osborn was arrested in March 2010 after Johnson County sheriff’s deputies said they found McKay dead in a bedroom at 18 Expo Dr. and Osborn bleeding in his truck outside. He told detectives he had no idea why he killed her.
Before Osborn was allowed to plead guilty this morning, a judge had to determine whether a possible conflict of interest existed with his attorney’s from the Iowa City-based Public Defender’s Office. Attorneys with the office that is now representing Osborn also represented McKay in operating while intoxicated cases before her death and at the time of her death, according to court documents.
Osborn’s attorneys this morning said they have no information based on their office’s prior representation of McKay and another possible witness in Osborn’s murder case that would give them prejudicial information that they could use to defend Osborn at trial.
Based on that information, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said she no longer has a concern about a possible conflict of interest in the case. That made way for Osborn to enter a guilty plea to the second-degree murder charge.
As part of the plea agreement, Osborn also is waiving his right to file an appeal in the case.
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