TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka man who admits to murdering two people will spend the next 50 years behind bars for those crimes.
A judge sentenced Monroe Lockhart III to two consecutive life sentences of 25 years each Friday afternoon for the murders of 39-year-old Corey Brown in 2012 and 25-year-old Damon Anderson in 2000.
“When Corey died, I walked through the very pit of hell wondering, why,” said Stacey Wagner about her little brother.
She says she forgives Lockhart, but her family’s recovery has been long and difficult.
“I grew up with Monroe,” Wagner said, “He was my little brother’s best friend for years. It’s been horrible, horrifying.”
In both shackles and tears Friday afternoon Lockhart faced friends and family of his two murder victims.
“I loved Damon Anderson and Corey Brown,” Lockhart said. “And pressures of life got the best of me in both the cases. From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.”
One after another, Brown’s family members expressed both sadness and forgiveness.
“He’ll never get to see me run a track meet, graduate or even get married,” said Brown’s daughter, Shae Brown, “But it’s okay ’cause i forgive you.”
“The tragedy of losing Corey has broken our hearts beyond what we could even imagine,” said Corey’s mother, Jane Brown, “He was an awesome son and a great father to his three children.”
Wagner says they’re pleased with the judge’s sentencing of two consecutive 25-year life sentences behind bars.
“I feel justice was served,” she said.
But the hole this leaves in her family will never be filled.
“I’ll never be the same without my little brother,” she said.
Lockhart is already serving a nearly 10 year sentence for a home invasion in which a woman was branded with a hot knife. Then after serving today’s sentence of 50 years in prison, Lockhart will be eligible for parole in 2073.