Shane Padgett will spend the rest of his life in prison.
On Wednesday afternoon Roanoke County judge James Swanson sentenced Padgett to five consecutive life terms in prison, plus 175 years for other charges. Padgett was facing the death penalty for the 2010 murder of Cara Holley.
For the sentencing, Judge Swanson said he took into account Padgett’s age and the fact that he had no prior felonies on his record. Swanson also considered Padgett's undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues, as well as substance abuse issues.
During the hearing, which began March 17, the defense tried to show that Padgett was mentally unstable at the time of the murder. The prosecution contended that Holley’s murder was deliberate and premeditated.
Holley and Padgett were classmates at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.
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Judge scheduled to determine sentencing for Shane Padgett today
A Roanoke County judge is reviewing evidence and deciding whether or not Shane Padgett will receive a life sentence or the death penalty.
Padgett was convicted of killing Cara Holley in July 2010. His sentencing hearing began March 17.
The commonwealth’s attorney and the defense both gave closing arguments in court Wednesday morning.
A focal point of those arguments was future dangerousness. Determining that will play a role in the judge’s decision.
The commonwealth’s attorney said that Padgett’s actions leading up to the murder of Cara Holley were deliberate and premeditated.
The defense reiterated that this was a tragic, isolated incident and asked the judge for mercy.
The judge is scheduled to hand down his verdict at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
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Arguments wrap up in Shane Padgett sentencing hearing
Story from Tuesday, March 25, 2014
After seven days, arguments in the sentencing for Shane Padgett wrapped up Tuesday.
Padgett killed classmate Cara Holley in July 2010 and confessed to the murder last year.
More expert witnesses spoke Tuesday before both sides rested their case.
Cara Holley's family spoke again about the impact of Holley's loss on them. Cara Holley's brother, father, and mother spoke to the judge at the end of Tuesday’s proceedings. They wanted to remind the judge how devastating Cara's loss has been.
Holley’s family talked about her personality, her intelligence, and the discussions they had about giving her parents grandkids.
Holley was handicapped. She only had one arm. But she never complained about it, her family said. Her brother said the morning after he found out Cara was killed, he tried doing all his daily tasks with one hand.
“In trying to do this, in trying to do my daily routine with one hand, (it) made me realize how special she was to me,” Cody Hoosier said.
Cara’s father Mike Holley said: “When she did have kids, I said I don't want you to have them now, but I want a boy. And we laughed.”