UPDATE: LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN (WXOW)-- A judge handed down the maximum sentence to Izelia Golatt, the man convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 35-year-old Kristen Tabbert Rodgers. Golatt will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of release.
During the trial both the defense and prosecution acknowledged the victim struggled with a drug addiction and was attempting to buy crack cocaine the night of her death. But during the sentencing, the judge and those who knew Kristen said she was a friend and mother deprived of the chance to overcome her addiction.
"The nature of this case and kind of the underworld we see in drugs, speaks to why this offense, why drug offenses are viewed as serious ones," said Judge Scott Horne.
Rodgers family and Friends acknowledge her struggle with drugs, but say she was first and foremost a friend, daughter and mother of three.
"Kristen was a wonderful daughter and my best friend," said Kathy Tabbert, Rodgers' mother. "You stole her life and you also stole a part of me.She hated the life of drugs. She tried five times to get better. She said I will keep trying until I get it right."
"She deserved the time to succeed, to fail, to fight and to get back up on her feet again, just like all of us," said a good friend of Rodgers.
Judge Horne agreed, Rodgers deserved a chance overcome her addiction.
"She deserved the opportunity to again make an effort to conquer that addiction and to succeed," Horne said. "You took that opportunity from her."
Meanwhile, Golatt maintained his innocence throughout the trial and sentencing.
"I did not kill your baby," Golatt said in court.
But Judge Horne said the evidence, along with Golatt's previous convictions, including one for second-degree murder, make him a danger to others.
"I don't see anything in your history that would suggest that rehabilitation at any stage of your life is a realistic goal," Horne said. "In any sense of community, we try to help each other, and when someone is struggling, we help that person. When someone is addicted, we give them support. We help them break free of that addiction and overcome it. You describe Kristen as a friend and yet you pray on that addiction."
Golatt does have the right to appeal his conviction. His attorneys declined to comment after the sentencing.
LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN (WXOW)— A La Crosse man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a woman over drugs earlier this year.
Judge Scott Horne sentenced 45-year-old Izelia Golatt to life in prison without the possibility of release.
A jury found Golatt guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the death 35-year-old Kristen Rodgers back in September.
Rodgers was found dead in a North Side ally on March 6, according to the Dane County medical examiner, the cause of death was manual strangulation.
According to police Rodgers was trying to purchase crack cocaine from Golatt at the time of her death.
At the sentencing, Rodgers mother, brother and husband spoke, asking Judge Scott Horne to impose the maximum sentence.
Golatt also spoke at the sentencing and maintains his innocence, turning to Rodgers' mother and saying, "I did not kill your baby."
We will have more on the sentencing in our 5, 6 and 10 PM reports.
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