Vermont man gets life, with possibility of parole, in teacher death


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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vermont — The Vermont man convicted of first degree murder in the 2012 kidnapping and killing of a St. Johnsbury teacher has been sentenced to life in prison.

But the judge who sentenced Allen Prue on Wednesday refused to impose a sentence of life without parole as prosecutors had asked.

Judge Robert Bent said one mitigating factor in the case was Prue's lack of a criminal history before he and his wife, Patricia Prue, allegedly lured Melissa Jenkins from her home and killed her.

Before being sentenced Allen Prue said he felt terrible for what happened, but he was convicted of a crime he didn't commit.

Allen Prue blamed the killing of Jenkins on his wife.

Allen Prue's attorney asked for a sentence of 35-years to life.

Prue was convicted in October of killing Jenkins. Patricia Prue, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A sentencing hearing got underway Wednesday for a part-time snowplow driver convicted of killing a prep school teacher in 2012 with the judge denying a defense request to delay the proceedings.

Allen Prue was led into the St. Johnsbury courtroom packed with relatives and friends of his victim, Melissa Jenkins. The proceeding was expected to last all day.

Prue, who told police that he and his wife wanted "to get a girl," was convicted in October of first-degree murder in the killing of Jenkins, a 32-year-old St. Johnsbury Academy teacher.

Prosecutors plan to ask Judge Robert Bent to sentence him to life in prison without chance of parole.

Prue's wife, Patricia, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder. She was expected to go on trial in March but has informed her lawyer that she wants to plead guilty.

The Prues are accused of luring Jenkins from her rural home with a ruse about a broken down car and then strangling and beating her.

Jenkins, a single mother, was reported missing after her vehicle was found idling on her rural road with her 2-year-old son inside.

Police were led to the couple by a business card for Prue's plow business in her home and because Jenkins had told a friend she was suspicious that the Prues called her about their vehicle. Prue, who had plowed Jenkins' driveway, and his wife were arrested two days after she was killed.

Prosecutors said the Prues planned the crime: Patricia Prue's computer had been used to conduct online searches for "how to kidnap a girl," the Prues got a stun gun and they bought a prepaid cellphone to call Jenkins to ask for help.

Allen Prue told police he and his wife "wanted somebody they could play with," Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren had said.

Jenkins' nude body was found the following day in the Connecticut River.

The crime shook the Northeast Kingdom community where violent crime is rare. Prue's trial was moved out of Caledonia County.

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