Welch sentenced to life in prison for killing Kimberly Smith

A Waukesha County judge sentenced Justin Welch to life in prison for killing Kimberly Smith back in 2009. Welch will be eligible for parole when he turns 70 years old.

Welch confessed to stabbing Smith to death in her home back in 2009. Smith's ex-boyfriend Darren Wold and his friend Jack Johnson offered to pay Welch $7,000 for the killing.

Welch agreed to testify against Wold and Jackson -- and that ultimately led to their convictions.

The judge could have very well given Welch life without parole, but because of his cooperation with prosecutors, he decided to give Welch the possibility of parole after 44 years.

"I have not been impressed, decieved, nor fooled by your actions or statements Mr. Welch, said Judge James Kieffer.

Smith's family was emotional during the sentencing. They read statements and played a video montage of Kim, asking the judge to keep Welch behind bars for life. "She was Jackson's mother for four years and four months. Justin, you took her from us and we are missing for her two years, one month and ten days," said Barbara Wallace.

Welch cried as he read a letter to the family apologizing for the crime. "It's a sick, sick thing and I'm sick of my actions. I have two daughters. I think about Jackson all the time. Now he has no mother because of me. I know I will go to hell," said Welch.

The district attorney says he's not surprised the judge made the decision he did. He says the family is satisfied with the sentence.

Wold and Johnson will be sentenced in December. They could also face life in prison.