RIO LINDA -- The family of a Rio Linda woman murdered last November is reacting to her convicted killer's sentence of life in prison.
"It's good that he will be locked away and won't be able to hurt anyone else. But it would be better to have an eye for an eye, you know what I mean?" Beverly Cramblit said.
Her sister, 31-year-old Leslie Cramblit was shot to death inside of a home in Yuba County last November. Beverly said Leslie's body was discovered brutally beaten, with signs of strangulation, and that she had been shot in the face.
Then, 25-year-old Johnnyrae Mountain Witt, Leslie's boyfriend, was accused of taking her from Rio Linda to Yuba County and holding her captive for several days before killing her. After Cramblit's body was discovered, Witt sparked a days long manhunt and evaded capture twice at homes in Rio Linda before he was eventually tracked down and arrested in Carmichael.
On Tuesday, nine months after the murder, and at the end of an emotional trial for Cramblit's family, Witt was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Cramblit's other sister Krysten Meyer said that while Witt apologized for shooting in court, he showed no real remorse.
"After being sentenced, when they were taking him out, he smugly looked at us and said , 'Hey, sorry guys,' like he had just tipped over a glass of water. It was disgusting. It was more of an insult, than anything, that he would even say something that way to us," Meyer said.
Cramblit's sisters shared audio recordings with FOX40 from the last time they heard their sister Leslie alive. They said she called several family members about five days before she was killed, asking them to come pick her up because she was afraid.
"Mom, can you please come pick me up? I'm scared, I don't know what I'm gonna do," Leslie said in one of the voicemails.
Meyer said they all missed the calls, and when they tried to call her back they got no answer. They said she also sent Facebook messages asking for help, but when they responded asking where to pick her up, they could see that it was too late, Leslie never got a chance to open those messages.
"She said he was gonna kill her, and she believed it. She believed that he would kill her and her kids. So ultimately what she did was she went with him to protect her family, to save them," Meyer said.
Both sisters said Witt would not let Leslie out of the house alone and that she had asked them to come get her away from Witt on several previous occasions when he left her there alone, but by the time they made arrangements to pick her up, he was back with her.
"He was always one to run his mouth and threaten, you know what I mean," said Beverly Cramblit. "So that's probably why I didn't take him seriously. I would tell her, 'He ain't gonna do nothing to you,' and Leslie would say, 'No Bev, he will.'"
In the Cramblit's family home, a memorial bench now sits in front of the fire place, and each of Leslie's young children has a lock of her hair and a small urn containing some of her ashes.
"This is what we have left of Leslie. Pretty and smart, just like mommy," Meyer said of one of Leslie's daughters.
FOX40 spoke with Witt's public defender Brian Davis over the phone.
He said the trial was not about whether or not Witt pulled the trigger, but about whether or not he shot Leslie on purpose or by accident.
Davis said Witt continues to argue that he shot Leslie on accident, and that he will be filing an appeal with a different attorney.
Weeks ago, a jury convicted Witt of second degree murder for shooting Leslie in the face with a rifle.
"It's just too bad he didn't have the same ending that Leslie did. Because that will be the happiest day of my life, when he's dead," Meyer said.
Cramblit's family now takes care of Leslie's two young daughters and her son.