An Irish American brother and sister who had their lives upended by the murder of their mother and father heard the killer sentenced yesterday - life without the possibility of release.
At the hearing on Friday at the Connecticut Superior Court the Donnelly family came face to face for the first time with Christopher DiMeo, the young man who cold bloodily killed their parents Tim and Kim Donnelly in their Fairfield jewelry store in 2005.
"My mother begged you for her life and you refused her," Eric Donnelly told DiMeo, who would not meet his gaze.
"Six years later you asked a jury of 12 strangers for the same mercy and they gave it to you. I hope that fact is not lost on you, and that you make the most of the time you were given."
In a report in The Connecticut Post on Friday Tara Donnelly added: "Mom and Dad, you are missed more than I can express here today. May you finally rest in peace."
DiMeo's lawyer Michael Courtney told the presiding Judge Robert Devlin his client had nothing to say, but DiMeo then stood up and faced the Donnelly family.
"I'm sorry for, I'm sorry for," he mumbled. "I'm sorry for the pain I've created. This is nobody's fault but mine. Every day since I have taken Tim and Kim from you, I have sought forgiveness. I'm sorry for what I have done and I hope that someday you can forgive me. I will continue to try and make the best of my life."
Outside the courtroom Eric and Tara Donnelly were asked how they felt about DiMeo's apology.
"After seven years it was good to hear an apology," said Eric Donnelly. "That was the first time he had directly spoken to us."
"I can't know if it was genuine," said Tara Donnelly. "I can't offer him forgiveness; the only ones who can are the people he killed."
DiMeo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release, to run consecutively with the life term he is serving for the murder of Long Island jeweler Thomas Renison.
Three million people in the world are descended from one Irish High King