A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty last week to suffocating his girlfriend after attempting to kill her in a 115-mph car crash.
Benjamin Klinger, 21, was sentenced on Friday to up to 56 years in prison, according to Lancaster Online.
Klinger was arrested in 2012 after his girlfriend, 17-year-old Sammi Heller, was found dead after a car crash. Klinger purposely crashed into a guardrail in the middle of the night with the intention of killing Heller, and when she survived, he sat on her until she died of asphyxiation.
A passing motorist called 911 after seeing the crash, and told officials that Klinger was sitting on Heller, who was face-down, according to Fox 6. Heller, whose moans could be heard by 911 dispatchers, ultimately died from a combination of asphyxiation and injuries sustained in the crash.
"I accept full responsibility for the loss of a very special person," Klinger said in court. “I want you to know with all my heart I’m sorry … really sorry.”
Heller’s family said that Klinger abused the teen physically and emotionally throughout their two-year long relationship. At one point, they said, Klinger drove a car over Heller’s foot.
McFalls stated the family did “everything we could to keep Sammi away from Ben,” but their efforts failed.
Lancaster County Judge Margaret Miller stated that Klinger’s plea was the first time she had seen him display “any degree of humanity or emotion.”
"You treated [Heller] like an object,” Miller told Klinger, “and when that object became an inconvenience, the object was removed from your path.”