A man who walked into a police station and admitted to the shooting murder four years earlier of the fiancé he claimed had killed herself will serve 37 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.
“Think of what Connor Scott has stolen from us,” Leslie Roberts, the mother of 20-year-old Kaylyn Whitaker, wrote in her victim impact statement, which was provided to PEOPLE before the sentencing. Roberts described her daughter as “a radiant life that was maliciously snuffed out before her time.”
“Not only did he forever steal Kaylyn’s tomorrows, he stole ours,” Roberts said. “Not only did he steal Kaylyn’s possibilities, he has stolen ours.”
Connor, 24, was sentenced under the terms of a plea deal seven months after he stunned authorities by voluntarily stepping into the Danville, Indiana, Metropolitan Police Department on February 24 and confessed on tape to the killing, according to police.
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The twist came as authorities who long suspected his guilt were drawing up charges to arrest him for the murder, Ed Parkinson, of the Illinois state’s attorneys appellate prosecutor’s office, previously told PEOPLE.
But still his confession caught those authorities and Kaylyn’s parents off guard.
Kaylyn and Conner were engaged and living together in the basement of Connor’s parents’ home in Martinsville, Illinois, on October 31, 2014, when Connor claimed he was awakened by a gunshot, according to his 911 call and his statements to police. No one else was at home with the couple.
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“The initial concern was suicide versus homicide,” forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr told PEOPLE. With no definitive evidence, he listed Kaylyn’s manner of death as “undetermined.”
But doubts arose from the start. Kaylyn was right-handed; the bullet to her head struck her left side. Not until 10 months later, after more ballistics tests on the .45 Glock pistol found at the scene, did Kohr change his ruling to “homicide.”
When the criminal case stalled, a frustrated Roberts and Kaylyn’s father, Dave Whitaker, eventually took their calls for answers to local media.
That built pressure on Connor, the parents believe. Three weeks before he gave himself up, Connor was “intoxicated” and threatening to kill himself if his current girlfriend walked out on him, according to a court document obtained by PEOPLE. Police alerted by the girlfriend’s 911 call seized a loaded handgun and took Connor to a hospital.
That episode echoed the controlling behavior Connor sometimes displayed with Kaylyn, according to her friends and family. “He would continually check on her, making sure she was doing what she said she was,” says Roberts. “He didn’t like her being with her friends.”
Although the couple who began dating during Kaylyn’s senior year in high school briefly broke up over his behavior, Connor relented and Kaylyn accepted his proposal. Roberts raised concerns about …read more