EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A man accused of tying up and killing a good Samaritan who rented a Pennsylvania motel room for him, then videotaping the body and saying "I do what I want," has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Jeffrey Knoble, 27, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder in the March 2015 death of Andrew "Beep" White but was acquitted of robbery, which prompted prosecutors to drop plans to seek capital punishment.
Knoble apologized during his sentencing hearing Wednesday for "a stupid decision" but asserted that his convictions were unwarranted for a variety of legal reasons.
"I'll think about it for the rest of my life, and I'm sorry," Knoble said, addressing several of White's family members by name.
He made no reference to his allegation that the victim had sexually assaulted him, an assertion strongly rejected by prosecutors who cited post-murder videos they said were intended to build the defendant's reputation as a "tough guy."
White's relatives spoke of him as a fun-loving and nonjudgmental man who always tried to help others.
"I hated you," Justin White, the victim's brother, told Knoble. "I hated you for two years. I don't hate you no more. ... Dude, you don't realize what you did."
"He really was something special to a lot of people and you selfishly stole that from us all," White's sister, Jesselene White, told Knoble.
"I don't want you to die," added Natazia Edwards, the victim's niece. "I want you to sit and think about what you did. You hurt me. You hurt us."
But she said she was going to pray for the defendant, who nodded in agreement.
Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano tacked on additional time for other convictions, citing the difference between the defendant's actions and the compassion in the statements of relatives.
"You are a merciless and ruthless and cold-blooded murderer who killed an innocent and defenseless man who was your friend, a young man whose only sin was that he put his trust in you," the judge said.