SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A Rotterdam man charged with murdering his girlfriend and her mother in April was sentenced in Schenectady County Court on Tuesday.
Brice Rivenburgh, 29, was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder last month.
Rivenburgh admitted he broke into the Inner Drive home and strangled his ex-girlfriend, 23-year-old Jessica McCormack, and her mother, 52-year-old Tammy McCormack, the morning of April 10, 2013.
Multiple victim impact statements were given in court, as family members remembered Jessica and Tammy. Family says not a day goes by when they don't think of the two and their hearts ache.
"My heart will never be the same," Jessica McCormack's sister said.
"My mom was the neighborhood mom. If you were a friend of mine you grew up in our house. She was like that until the day she passed," said Jessica's brother, Brad McCormack. "Jess was the funny one. She was the little sister. She was a little quirky but fun to be around and that's what we miss the most."
Rivenburgh also spoke, apologizing to the family. He said he doesn't understand what he did; he took the best thing in his life.
The defense asked the court to give Rivenburgh 35 years in prison, saying he has shown remorse and wants psychological help. But prosecutors say Rivenburgh was self-centered, angry about his parents' divorce and never took responsibility for his own actions.
Prosecutors say the motivation behind the crime was money. They say he stole gift cards and money from Tammy. Tammy also told Jessica he wasn't allowed over to the home which angered Rivenburgh.
The judge agreed, telling Rivenburgh that his motive was "preposterous," it was a cowardly act, and he failed to address that, sentencing him to the maximum on Tuesday.
They say the plea deal was done to spare the family from the emotional toll of a trial.
Officials explained Rivenburgh and Jessica McCormack had an "on again, off again" relationship for a couple of years, but had recently broke up.
Investigators do not believe that Rivenburgh forced entry into the home. Investigators say he strangled the women and tried to make the crime look like it was a burglary gone wrong. Authorities say Rivenburgh set fire to the home to try to cover up the crime.