BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for strangling his daughter's girlfriend and hiding her body in an empty house.
Polk County Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen gave Jerry Lee Seger, 43, the maximum sentence allowed by law. A jury found him guilty last month of second-degree murder.
Prosecutors said Seger killed Courtney Elizabeth Bright, 24, because he was angry about Bright's influence on his daughter. According to the The Ledger, Seger did not approve of their relationship and lifestyle, which included using drugs, stealing and not having a stable place to live.
Bright was found dead in the closet of an empty Lakeland home in April 2010. She was nude and had been strangled with a white shirt.
Seger did not speak at Tuesday's hearing, but Bright's family did.
"I know for a fact that Courtney Elizabeth Bright is not homeless or hungry or unhappy today," said Lisa Ketchum, Bright's mother.
"She is in heaven, and she is perfect. Her final judge said not guilty to her because, even though drugs had taken over her mind and some of her actions, she still had a goodness and kindness in her heart that only Jesus could put there."
Ketchum acknowledged that she also didn't approve of her daughter dating Seger's daughter.
"Courtney's relationship with Jerry Seger's daughter wasn't all right with me either," Ketchum said, turning to face Seger. "But your daughter is still breathing."