Neeley

Neeley (August 2, 2013)

SOUTH BEND — A judge this morning sentenced a man to 115 years in prison for his role in a home invasion and stabbing that killed a 67-year-old woman just two days after Christmas last year.

Walter Neeley, 48, entered a guilty plea in June to one count of murder and one count of robbery, a Class A felony. He is one of five accused in the slaying of Sandra Price in her North Michigan Street home Dec. 27.

Court documents say Neeley and his four accomplices broke into the home and attacked the six occupants while trying to rob the house.

Court documents allege the men stabbed Price and her husband as well as three other family members in the home at the time, including two children.

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jerome Frese handed down the sentence — 65 years for the murder conviction and 50 years for the robbery — after hearing emotional testimony from Price's family.

The sentence was the maximum Neeley could have received based on the charges he pleaded guilty to.

Frese noted Neeley's significant criminal record and the fact that the victims were children and individuals over 65 years when handing down the sentence.

Also charged are Khawana Lamar, 21; Lee Griffin, 19; Nate Coley, 18; and Gemari Cotton, 17. Their cases are still pending.

For more on this story, read Saturday’s South Bend Tribune.