LUDINGTON (WWJ/AP) – A West Michigan man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting his sister and strangling her friend with a belt has been sentenced to 46 to 65 years in prison.

Patrick Bentley, 21, was sentenced Tuesday in Mason County Circuit Court in Ludington. He also received two years in prison for a felony firearm charge.

Co-defendant Lashawn Whipple, 19, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. She pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder and other charges. Her defense attorney David Glancy argued his client feared for her own life.

The bodies of 18-year-old Lacey Bentley and 35-year-old Fernando Ramirez were found Jan. 27 in Mason County, near Scottville.

According to court documents, Whipple said she shot Lacey Bentley twice. When Lacey Bentley called for help from her brother, Whipple said Patrick Bentley went into the trailer and shot her again. Police said Lacey Bentley was shot eight times.

Court documents show that Whipple and Patrick Bentley then waited for Ramirez to return to the trailer, with Patrick Bentley eventually putting Ramirez in a choke hold. Whipple said she got Patrick Bentley a belt, which he used to finish strangling Ramirez. Patrick Bentley then allegedly set the home on fire.

The partners in crime then took Ramirez’s car and fled the state, investigators said. They were later arrested in Kentucky.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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