MONROE COUNTY (WWJ) – Sitting just five feet away from the man who murdered her daughter — Leannda Bruck presented a Bible to Daniel Clay during sentencing in a Monroe County courtroom.
Circuit Court Judge Daniel White was unmoved, calling Clay a ‘liar, rapist and murderer,’ as a life sentence was handed down in the murder and disappearance of Chelsea Bruck in 2014.
“I spent ten days in trial with Mr. Clay and I listened to countless hours of him changing his story — every time the detectives questioned him and every time they brought up something new. What’s very clear to me Mr. Clay — you are a liar, a rapist and a killer,” said Judge White.
At a press conference following the sentencing Leannda Bruck described the surreal feeling of loss and disbelief:
“We expect her to walk through the back door,” she said. “Today, with the strength of Jesus Christ I forgive Daniel Clay – because if I don’t — all that has happened the last 2 and 3/4 years – will destroy the rest of my life.”
Leannada Bruck showed a grace and reserve that could be difficult to fathom:
“There are no winners in this — but by the grace of God, there will be no more losers.”
Prosecutors say Clay killed Bruck before hiding the body after the two met at a Halloween party. A jury convicted him in May and he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison without chance of parole.
Monroe County Prosecutor William Nichols telling WWJ that the conviction of Clay was a community effort — including the collaborative work of over 70 agencies.
Clay apologized to the public and to Bruck’s family before the sentencing.
Clay will be back in court, August 17, for sentencing on an unrelated criminal sexual conduct conviction.