Former Wisconsin airman resentenced in double homicide case
LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A former senior airman from southwest Wisconsin has been spared the death penalty for a second time on a double homicide conviction and will instead spend the rest of his life behind bars.
A military panel last month resentenced Andrew Witt to life in prison without parole in connection to the deaths of a fellow airman Andrew Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie Schliepsiek, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
The 36-year-old was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2005. But a military appeals court vacated the ruling in 2016, and returned the case to a lower court.
Witt's attorney said the life sentence was delivered last month, but prosecutors again sought the death penalty.
Maj. Christopher Goewert said the defense presented evidence of a traumatic brain injury that Witt suffered months before the attack. He said the defense also showed that Witt has had good behavior during the 14 years he's spent in prison.
Witt's family testified that he's remained a central part of their lives and has provided emotional support despite being incarcerated.
Witt also provided a statement expressing remorse and apologizing to the victims and their families, Goewert said.
"The crime was aberrant behavior and was a perfect storm of events/problems/stressors," Goewert wrote. "As his life had value to others, mercy was appropriate."
Witt also received a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force as part of his sentence.
Witt was one of just five people awaiting execution in the U.S. military court system, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.