An Alabama judge on Monday sentenced he husband of online exhibitionist Kat West to 16 years in prison for her death, AL.com reports.
Jeff West, 47, will receive credit for the nearly three years he’s already served since being arrested for his wife’s January 12, 2018, death. He has maintained his innocence throughout — contending that Kat West died from a fall while drinking — but a jury deliberated less than five hours in November before finding him guilty of reckless manslaughter, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Kat West, 42, was found dead outside her home in Calera, Alabama, on the morning of January 13, 2018, hours after a “date night” with her husband. Investigators determined that Kat, who was a stay-at-home mom who ran a private business selling adult photos of herself online, died due to injuries sustained when her killer hit her over the head with an absinthe bottle, where investigators found Jeff West’s fingerprints.
Shelby County Judge William Bostick III, who handed down the sentence, said he took into consideration testimony from the couple’s daughter and Kat West’s mother asking for leniency, as well as Jeff West’s military history, ties to the community and lack of a criminal record, according to AL.com.
“We don’t drag people into courts of law and try them for who they are,” Bostick said. “We drag people into courts of law and try them for what they did.”
“In this case the the jury found you to be responsible for your wife’s death. They imposed that responsibility on you. You were afforded the opportunity to accept responsibility for causing your wife’s death. You have, for your own reasons, taken the position that you don’t intend to do that. So the jury had to do that for you.”
“I know there were some versions of the evidence that may say Kat was responsible for her own death, or her drinking,” the judge added. “She contributed to her demise, but I don’t consider that mitigating at all in this case. Domestic violence always follows according to a pattern. Kat’s death was foreseeable.”
“I don’t believe you woke up the morning that this offense occurred and decided today’s the day I’m going to kill her. I don’t believe the happened. But I do believe this could have been avoided, I do believe it was foreseeable and I do believe with the jury that it is your reckless acts that caused her death.“
Jeff West spoke before the sentencing, never mentioning his wife’s name, AL.com said. He spoke instead of all he’d missed being in jail for three years, but added that he “lost my best friend.”
Prosecutors offered West a plea deal before the trial started last year that would have seen him released for time served, but he turned that deal down. Asked about West’s statement before sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Daniel McBrayer said, “It struck me that he mentioned very little other than himself.’’
West’s attorney, John Robbins, said he was pleased the judge didn’t hand down the maximum sentence of 20 years, but added the thought that “probation would have been appropriate.”
“I’m sorry the prosecution wants him to come out and say, ‘I did this,'” Robbins said. “Since Day 1 he has denied it and that’s his position. It wasn’t going to change. He had an opportunity to take that position and go home. He refused to admit to something that he didn’t do. You have to respect the person for that.”
Robbins said that he intends to appeal.
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