Hearing held on second anniversary of the day murder victim Deborah Dewey disappeared
HENNEPIN — Two years to the day of Deborah Dewey's disappearance, her family received the long-awaited justice for which they'd been waiting.
Clifford A. "Skip" Andersen Jr. was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 60 years in prison for the murder of Dewey, his sister-in-law.
"And you will serve every day and every hour of it, as long as you are alive," Judge Stephen A. Kouri told Andersen.
Andersen, 68, of Standard, was also found guilty concealment of a homicidal death during his two-week trial in July. He received an additional concurrent sentence of five years in prison for that crime.
Dewey, 62, of Ladd was reported missing Aug. 23, 2016. Her body was found Sept. 12, 2016, by Illinois State Police investigators at a house in Standard for which Andersen was caretaker and only blocks from his home.
At the start of the sentencing hearing, defense attorney Drew Parker, of Peoria, entered a motion for a new trial based on several points, including spousal privilege.
Prosecutor Bill Elward argued that all of Parker's points had been litigated during the trial. Kouri denied the defense motion.
Two of Dewey's family members then read impact statements to the court. Dewey's niece, Susie Marshall, read a statement saying that what Andersen had done was "unconscionable" and that his actions had not only caused the family to lose Dewey, but also another sister, Diane, Andersen's wife.
Dewey's nephew, Roberto Guiliano, told Andersen he hoped his punishment was "lengthy and arduous."
The prosecution requested the maximum sentence, with Elward saying Andersen's crime was "brutal and heinous" because Dewey had trusted and loved him.
"Today, the bill comes due for your actions," he said to Andersen.
Parker told the court Dewey and Andersen had been like brother and sister. He then described Andersen as a good-natured and good-hearted father figure who was "a protector of the weak."
He then said the death of Andersen's son years before, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from his military experience, had been traumatic to his psyche.
"Something happened to his brain," Parker said.
Kouri then offered Andersen his chance to make his allocution. Andersen then began to loudly and defiantly defend himself.
"I've heard so much that's not real," he said before arguing against family members and the accuracy of the video evidence, as well continuing into a rambling accusation against the truck-stop waitresses who testified about his behavior and gambling habits.
"I don't like bullies, and I would never hurt a woman," he continued.
He also said someone else had committed the murder and had buried her where she was found in order to make him "look bad."
Before announcing his sentence, Kouri commended both the defense and the prosecution for their efficient work together.
He also praised the family for their quick action following Dewey's disappearance, saying it was helpful in "solving a horrific crime." He also praised the patience they displayed during the lengthy legal process.
As he delivered the sentence, Kouri said at one time Andersen was a hero.
"Two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star, at one point you were a hero, but that doesn't alter what you've become," he told Andersen.
He then said that among murders, Dewey's was one of the worst.
"Most of the gruesome and horrific autopsy photos were held back during the trial, but now is the time for their consideration," Kouri said while looking at Andersen.
Following the issuance of the sentence, Parker announced a cousin of Andersen's had been paying his legal expenses, but was no longer able to do so.
He then reported the withdrawal of his law firm's services and referred Andersen to a public defender for his appeal.