Update: Teen Sentenced For Ex-Girlfriend's Murder

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Justin Lenz was sentenced Wednesday morning to 60-80 years in prison. He admitted to strangling 16-year-old Melanie Koontz in May 2012, first with his hand and then with a belt.

Lenz, now 18, was 16 at the time of the murder. He would be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Melanie's family wants their daughter to be remembered. "She was well loved by all students and family around her," said her mother Michelle Koontz. In an earlier interview with WOWT 6 News, Michelle said they wanted justice. "We want him to spend life, nothing is going to bring her back and we miss her every day. My daughter suffered knowing she was dying and he continued to kill her."


Melanie Koontz

Lenz, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, could have gotten the minimum sentence of 20 years. Melanie's family was worried he'd get the minimum after months of frustration with the court process.

In January, Lenz was supposed to be sentenced, but the judge granted a delay. Lenz's attorney argued the state may not be able to provide adequate rehabilitation for him, citing a similar claim by Nikko Jenkins. "It was very frustrating, we just want to have this part of it done so we can move on with our lives," Michelle said in January.

For the last three months, Lenz has undergone evaluation to see what help he will need in prison and if it's available.


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