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The Lehi man who gunned down his estranged wife in an LDS Church parking lot will go to prison for at least 20 years. A judge sentenced David Ragsdale, 36, this morning. Ragsdale avoided a possible death penalty when he took a plea deal in November.
Kristy's mother, Ann Palizzi, said, "I feel very confident that this is what Kristy would have wanted. She didn't believe in the death penalty."
Kamie Wigington was Kristy's friend and neighbor. Her husband and two children witnessed the shooting. She said, "I would just like him to think about it more. I mean, to me, death is kind of an easy way out."
Palizzi said she often felt Kristy with her. She said, "I've had some amazing spiritual experiences with my daughter. She comes to comfort, she comes to give me information for her boys."
Palizzi has custody of the couple's two sons, who are now 2 and 5 years old.
In court, she said she forgives David Ragsdale because the boys deserve her pure love. She said, "They're growing. They're progressing. They're starting to feel secure."
Ragsdale expressed his love for his sons. He also made a tearful apology for what he did. He blamed his medication but said he would take responsibility for his actions.
The judge said she believed Ragsdale knew what he was doing when he gunned down his estranged wife outside a ward house of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lehi on Jan. 6, 2008.
Prosecutors have no doubt about that. Prosecutor David Sturgill said, "During his drive down from Draper to Lehi, he knew exactly what he was going to do."
That statement was healing for Kristy's mother. She said, "It's an acknowledgment of what I've always known in my heart. It was a deliberate act of selfishness."
But Palizzi, who witnessed the murder, hoped to put some of this behind her now. She said, "This is such a relief. Now we can move forward."
Ragsdale got credit for 389 days of time served. The court recommended that he participate in mental health therapy while in prison.
The Board of Pardons will decide how long Ragsdale will spend in prison.
Earlier this morning Ragsdale's parents released a statement about their son's sentencing, which reads:
"When we speak to our son, David, it would be impossible for us to overstate the grief he feels and expresses about the terrible act he committed. He will have to bear that pain forever. We have to live with it. Our hearts go out to Kristy's family. We are sorry. Our thoughts now turn to their children, and it is our prayer that they will know their parents love for them. Our focus now should be on them."
(Copyright 2008 Bonneville International Corporation. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed. AP contributed to this report.) AP Rights & Restrictions