RISING SUN, IN. (AP) - An Indiana teenager who admitted he strangled his 10-year-old brother will find out Friday how long he'll spend behind bars.
Andrew Conley, 18, is scheduled to be sentenced in the small Ohio River town of Rising Sun for the Nov. 28 death of his brother, Conner. Judge James Humphrey could sentence Conley to life in prison without parole or to a lesser term of 45 to 65 years. Conley cannot face the death penalty because he was 17 when he killed his brother.
In chilling video played during a five-day sentencing hearing last month, Conley calmly described how he killed Conner while wrestling with the boy at their home in southern Indiana. The teenager told police he caught his brother in a choke hold as the child, who witnesses said had idolized him, fought and pleaded for him to stop. Instead, Conley said he choked Conner until he passed out, then dragged the boy into the kitchen, put on gloves and continued strangling him for at least 20 minutes. He then loaded his brother's body into the trunk of his car and drove to visit his girlfriend before dumping his body under some leaves along a park trail.
Conley told psychologists he had been unable to stop and felt as if he were watching the murder from outside himself. According to testimony by police and others, Conley said he had fantasized about killing people since he was in eighth grade and said he wanted to be like the fictional television serial killer Dexter from the Showtime series with the same name. Conley also claimed that he heard voices.
Three experts who examined Conley said he was severely mentally ill, while a fourth who didn't interview him said he believed Conley hadn't known what he was doing was wrong. Defense attorneys argued for leniency, saying Conley was mentally ill and had cooperated with investigators. But Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard, quoting Conley should "rot in jail for the rest of his life." He said Conner Conley's age when he died made the longer sentence appropriate and argued that even a 65-year sentence was too short, since Conley could be released in about 30 years with credit for time served and education while in prison.
Conley expressed remorse for his brother's death during testimony at his sentencing hearing. "I am very sorry for murdering my little brother and I will never forget how much he meant to me and so many other people," he said. "I still have no idea why this happened, but I really wish I did."