The now-24-year-old Connor Scott claimed his fiancée, Kaylyn Whitaker, had killed herself when the death was first reported, according to People. Scott will serve 37 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.
“Think of what Connor Scott has stolen from us,” Leslie Roberts, the mother of 20-year-old Whitaker, wrote in her victim impact statement, per People. Roberts portrayed her daughter as “a radiant life that was maliciously snuffed out before her time.”
Scott admitted to the murder in February, when he shocked authorities by voluntarily walking into a Danville, Indiana police station. He was subsequently sentenced according to the terms of his plea deal.
Prior to his confession, authorities had suspected he was guilty and were preparing charges to arrest him for murder, Ed Parkinson, of the Illinois state’s attorneys appellate prosecutor’s office, told the outlet. Scott’s admission caught officers and Whitaker’s parents off-guard.
Scott and Whitaker were engaged and living in the basement of Scott’s parents’ home in Martinsville, Illinois. According to his 911 call, on Oct. 31, 2014, Connor alleged that he woke up to a gunshot. Only the couple was home.
“The initial concern was suicide versus homicide,” forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr told People. Lacking conclusive evidence, he listed Kaylyn’s manner of death as “undetermined.” However, 10 months later, after further studying the murder weapon—a .45 Glock pistol—Kohr changed his ruling to “homicide.”
Three weeks before he admitted to the murder, Scott was “intoxicated” and threatened to kill himself if his current girlfriend left him. After the girlfriend called 911, the police found a loaded handgun and took Scott to a hospital. Scott showed the same type of controlling behavior toward Whitaker. The two had previously broken up due to that behavior and eventually reunited after he proposed.
“It torments us greatly, the question of whether or not Kaylyn knew that her life was going to end,” Whitaker’s mother wrote. “We pray that she knew not what had befallen her.”