---Update 3:30 p.m. Wednesday--------------------
One of the men charged with the brutal beating death of a Hannibal man will spend the foreseeable future behind bars. A St. Charles County Judge sentenced 24 year-old David Ater to 30 years in prison for murdering Rodney Wood in August of 2008. A jury found him guilty of second degree murder and kidnapping last September.
He'll also serve ten years consecutively for a kidnapping conviction based on Ater holding a girl against her will after he committed the murder.
KHQA's Melissa Shriver talked with Rodney Wood's family after the sentencing.
Sheila Wood says Rodney's hat still smells like it did when her late husband was alive...in fact she says it's the only way she feels close to him now.
She took it to the stand with her during Ater's sentencing Wednesday as she asked questions of the man who took her husband's life.
Throughout his trial Ater claimed self-defense. But Wood asked why when Rodney tried to end the fight, Ater continued, eventually dealing the life ending blow to Wood's head with a helmet. She sasy that blow changed her and her family's lives forever.
Sheila Wood said, "I hope someday I can forgive them but at this point I just can't. I just can't."
The judge in the case cited Ater's non-remorseful attitude along with a laundry list of prior convictions and constant run-ins with the law since age 12 as reasons for the heavy sentence. But perhaps the most damaging for Ater were words from his own hand. A letter to his girlfriend just days after the murder...in which he addressed violence stating..."I'm a beast."
Wood's family members say it seemed Ater thought he was above the law.
Sam Wood, Rodney Wood's brother said, "It was a confirmation. He (Ater) thinks he's above the law, and you know the law is dealing with him right now."
Sheila Wood said, "He's a devil in sheep's clothing. And when he does walk as a free man if he does get out, he will do this again. He's can't stay out of trouble. he thinks he's invincible and he's not. And I will go to the ends of the earth to keep David Ater where he belongs and that's behind bars."
David Ater will be nearly 60 years old before he is considered for parole. KHQA spoke with Rodney's Wood's family. They're satisfied with the sentence and are convinced he'll spend the rest of his life in prison.
Now with sentencing behind them, Wood's family is trying to move forward.
Sheila Wood said, "Since August tenth my life has been turned upside down along with my family. And its an inner relief to have this over, although it won't bring Rodney back. I know this is a closure of one chapter although this will never ever be over. We have parole hearings, the dates this happened, they're constant reminders. There's not a day that goes by that I don't say what if, what if something else would have happened."
Sheila Wood said, "I want peace for my family. That's all I want. Tomorrow's a new day and we're going to be okay."
Ater's attorney did file a request for a new trial or an acquittal. Those motions were denied.
KHQA's Melissa Shriver says Ater's already had his share of violence behind bars. She has more details on that in her blog Melly's Moments.
T he man convicted of killing a Hannibal man last year is headed to prison for the next 40 years.
This morning, a St. Charles County Missouri judge sentenced David Ater to 30 years in prison for second degree murder and 10 years in prison for kidnapping. The judge said the two sentences would be served consecutively.
Ater's attorney asked the judge for an acquittal and that motion was denied.
During the sentencing hearing, the widow of the murder victim, Shelia Wood told the court," why did he and Mr. Stice beat the hell out of my husband."
KHQA's Melissa Shriver was in the courtroom this morning and will have a full report on the court proceedings from St. Charles tonight on the KHQA News at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00