Alan Jones left the courtroom Monday morning to begin serving a 25 year to life sentence for the strangulation murder of his stepsister, Erin Maxwell. Jones told Judge Walter Hafner he's "no threat to anyone."
After the sentencing, Captain Mark Lincoln of the New York State Police told reporters, "I hope because of this trial and conviction, there's an awareness if you neglect, abuse or physically harm a child, police and prosecutors are going to come after you to make sure you're held responsible."
While Jones was convicted of the murder of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell, her parents, Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, are both serving a two year sentence for forcing the girl to live in a house full of animals, garbage, and feces.
Defense attorney Salvatore Lanza says he will immediately file an appeal to overturn the conviction. The appeal is based on the idea that Erin accidentally hanged herself and neither the indictment nor the evidence against Jones fit the legal criteria for "depraved indifference" murder. "This case is going to be dismissed. It's going to be reversed on the law. I have no doubt in my mind about that." Lanza said.
District Attorney Donald Dodd disagreed. "This girl was strangled. He was in the house with her. What's the logical conclusion? He did it... I believe the facts support the result and I believe the Appellate Division will reach the same conclusion." Dodd said.
During the trial, however, Judge Hafner raised serious doubts about the prosecution's case for depraved indifference. On Monday Hafner said, "This is a question for the Appellate Division to sort out."
The sentencing of Alan Jones was delayed earlier this month after a juror said he had second thoughts about the verdict. He also made allegations of improper conduct during deliberations.
Judge Hafner said "such things go on in a jury room" and refused to set aside the verdict.