Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A Utica man could spend the rest of his life in prison for strangling a woman to death while he sexually assaulted her in 2007.
Craig Ingersoll was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder and criminal sexual act on Tuesday in Oneida County Court.
He was convicted in November 2012 of murdering Jennifer Bennett and then dumping her body behind a town of Deerfield fire station. Investigators used DNA to match Ingersoll with the killing
Bennett’s family members spoke out at his sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
“You are a repulsive, squatty, nasty and vile thing,” said family member Denise Saunders.
Saunders says she and her family were waiting for the day Jennifer would turn her life around and be the mother she wanted to be for her children. But, she says Ingersoll took that chance away.
Back in January 2007, Jennifer’s body was found behind the Deerfield fire house. Police looked for her killer for years and it was through DNA evidence that connected Ingersoll to her murder.
"We miss her smiles and her freshness. And it's not right. Her children...Do you even care to know what this has done to them,” Saunder continued.
Bennett’s 16-year-old son Justin sat in the courtroom for the first time Tuesday. He says he saw an evil man – a man he can’t forgive.
“She was the only one that actually visited me, rather than my father and always would be there even if she was on drugs,” Justin said.
Ingersoll apologized in court, but maintains his innocence. He says he had sex with Jennifer, but he was never at the Deerfield fire house.
Statements he made to investigators – in a so-called confession – he says were made while under the influence.
"It’s absolutely ludicrous and stupid. Do you think we are fools that we are going to believe something like that, that you were under the influence of drugs at the time of the statement. To stand here and claim you weren't there at the fire hall, the DNA got you Mr. Ingersoll,” said another family member, Barry Donalty.
Jennifer’s family say they’re coping one day at a time and Jennifer’s son says he enjoys being grandma’s boy.