Two days after the first anniversary of Vera Jo Reigle's death, Daniel Bixler, 22, of Tiffin was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 40 years.
The court room was filled with family and friends of Reigle, 24, of Findlay. They huddled together listening as Hancock County Common Pleas Court Judge Reginald Routson and other members of the court spoke about the case.
Hancock County Assistant Prosecutor Alex Treece said that a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years protects the public and adequately punishes Bixler.
Bixler pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of felonious assault in January 2011.
Treece said Bixler and Nicole Peters, 18, of Fostoria, admitted to leading Reigle to the railroad tracks under the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bridge in Findlay, where Bixler stabbed her several times. Her body was discovered by train operators.
"I greatly apologize for my actions," Bixler told the court. "Although alcohol, drugs and others assisted in my actions, I am to blame. My actions bring me here today."
Peters was sentenced to 23 years in prison Jan. 30.
Bixler previously served three years in prison and had been released for only 20 days when he and Peters murdered Reigle, Treece said.
"What were you thinking that day when you killed Vera Jo?" Reigle's sister, Ashley, said. "We miss our Vera Jo every day."
Bixler has 30 days to appeal Routson's sentence.