SAGINAW (AP) – A disgraced, former Michigan police officer was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole for the strangulation death of his pregnant girlfriend that was intended to appear as a suicide.
Kenneth Bluew also received 65 to 100 years in prison for the death of Jennifer Webb’s unborn son, as Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge Darnell Jackson exceeded sentencing guidelines on an assault charge related to the fetus. Under Michigan law, Bluew’s first-degree murder conviction for Webb’s death carried an automatic sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
“For me to say the evidence of your guilt in this case was overwhelming is an understatement,” Jackson told the 37-year-old Bluew. “You plotted and planned and researched this killing for quite a while before you actually committed it. You decided you were going to do it and you did. You waited for the right time and the right place. It was heinous and cold-blooded.
“Just like you plotted and planned the murder of Jennifer Webb, you by necessity also plotted and planned the murder of her baby. You had to have known that when you killed her the baby was going to also die.”
Bluew was with another officer when 32-year-old Webb’s body was found Aug. 30, 2011 near a drainage ditch in Buena Vista Township, about 85 miles northwest of Detroit. An extension cord was wrapped around Webb’s neck and attached to the roof rack her sport utility vehicle.
A forensic pathologist testified during a preliminary exam that he believes someone killed Webb by approaching her from behind and applying a “chokehold” on the woman. He testified Webb died due to “neck compression” and not because of “ligature strangulation” by hanging herself with an extension cord, though Buena Vista police initially classified her death as a suicide.
Cellphone calls later linked Webb to Bluew.
Webb’s parents say the married officer was the father of their daughter’s unborn baby. A DNA expert who testified said a DNA test confirmed that Bluew was the father of the baby.
Defense lawyer Rod O’Farrell told jurors before his client’s conviction last month that Webb had hoped Bluew would leave his wife.
Webb’s mother, Dawn Webb, read from a letter to Bluew in court before he was sentenced.
“Everyone who trusted you have to live with the horror of this,” she said. “Why God just didn’t strike you dead I really don’t know. Go to your cage and think about how you squeezed the life and breath out of my daughter and grandson, and I hope it haunts you every day for the rest of your life.”
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