Sobs, sighs and gasps filled the Putnam County Courtroom Thursday morning as a packed audience expressed their reactions to the sentencing of Bradley Long in the 2005 death of Kelcey Sullivan.
"You took away his love, his beautiful smile and his hugs," Jane Sullivan said of her son in addressing his convicted killer during the sentencing hearing.
Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley issued a 20-year sentence to the 42-year-old Long -- 18 years with the Indiana Department of Correction and two on probation, after hearing testimony from police detectives and relatives of Long and Sullivan. With good-time credit, Long could be released in nine years.
"We accepted you and thought you valued our love, but we were wrong," said Jane Sullivan to the man who had been in a relationship with her 22-year-old son. The two men were living together in Long's Putnam County home at the time of Sullivan's death.
Long plead guilty in April to voluntary manslaughter, a class B felony, after detectives had investigated the case for two months and determined that in the early morning of Nov. 20, he had strangled and beaten Sullivan in a fit of rage at their home on Country Villa Drive.
The two had returned home separately that night after a late evening out at clubs in Indianapolis. During the months following the incident, Long had contended that he heard a noise and came downstairs to find Sullivan lying on the floor in the kitchen. He said he tried to get the young man to the car for help but couldn't lift him.
Sullivan's body was found in the garage.
However, Detectives Pat McFadden and Michael Biggs testified evidence showed that Sullivan had been beaten and strangled, then dragged to the garage. They also said Long had called a friend in Brazil several times before calling 911.
"We wondered what you were doing with someone so young, and now we know it was all about control," Sullivan's mother said of her son's relationship with Long during the hearing.
Judge Headley said Long's history of abuse and violence with Sullivan and in previous relationships was one of the aggravating circumstances which lead him to accept the sentence recommended by the prosecution.
Other aggravating circumstances the judge listed included that the relationship was supposed to be one of care and custody, and that Long waited more than 20 minutes before calling 911 for Sullivan.
Headley also pointed to evidence which showed that Long had called Sullivan's parents after he had strangled him and told them he didn't know what had happened to their son.
At the hearing, Long's sister Debra Long spoke on behalf of her family and her brother.
"Brad is remorseful over this tragedy. Our prayers and thoughts and our hearts go out to Kelcey's friends and family," said his sister, who asked the judge for leniency.
Long also spoke at the hearing. He pointed to his waiving his right to a trial and refusal to post bond as reasons why the judge might give him a lesser sentence.
He also addressed Sullivan's family and supporters.
"I don't know how it ever got to that point," he said. "I have lost everything, but that is nothing compared to what was lost by Kelcey's family and Kelcey himself."
Along with his prison sentence, Long will also have to pay $7,818 to Sullivan's family. He was originally ordered to pay restitution of more than $11,000. The $7,818 is what remains after Long purchased a headstone for the man he killed.
"There is never true justice for losing a child," Jane Sullivan said after the hearing.
Her husband, Kelcey Sullivan's father Terry added, "But we are grateful to the judge and the prosecutor and the detectives, and to all of his family and very special friends who came today."
His wife agreed.
"(The presence of so many supporters) proves and shows how much Kelcey was loved and how deeply he is missed," she said.