DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A man who strangled a Brooklyn woman and her 8-year-old daughter and then staged their deaths to appear a murder-suicide was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday.
Amahal Lynch, who confessed to the 2010 double-murder of Shakeema Elliot and her child Kayla Williams in their Sheepshead Bay apartment, pleaded guilty before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog earlier this months to two counts of second-degree murder in exchange for the sentence.
Lynch's sentence was a relief for the victims' loved ones, who wore T-shirts imprinted with photos of the mother-daughter pair.
"Finally when I send a balloon up to the sky for Shakeema's birthday," said Elliot's godmother Florence Matthews. "I can say 'rest in peace.'"
Elliot's aunt, Delores Smith-Johnson, still shudders at the phone call she got in church to learn the devastating news.
"An animal shouldn't die that way," she said, according to the New York Post, which reported that Lynch placed the undressed bodies of Elliot, 29, and her daughter in a bathtub and left pills in their home to feign a murder-suicide in May 2010.
"There was no regard for their lives," Smith-Johnson said, according to the Post. "No matter what went on between Shakeema and Lynch, it wasn't worth killing her, walking away and then making it look like a murder-suicide."
But Lynch claimed in court Wednesday he had repented and hoped for God's forgiveness.
"People make mistakes, you know," said Lynch, 23, the paper reported. "Pushed to that point I don't know, but God is good."