COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - An intense morning in court ends with former Sergeant William Talley heading to prison for the rest of his life. The state says this life sentence is the closest thing to justice the family will get, short of bringing the victim back to life.
William ‘Bill’ Talley, still a married man, is admitting to killing his girlfriend Kelly Levinsohn, saying he was so drunk he does not remember the night, but now he will have at least 30 years in prison to reflect on that tragic night.
“It was a real life monster; a police officer at that," Tyeise Wetzel, a lifelong friend of Levinsohn, said, "Trained to protect human lives, [but he] would so carelessly, viciously and selfishly shoot Kelly in the back of the head in her own living room without a means to defend herself.”
Wetzel held back tears while sharing her testimony in court Monday, sharing stories to show Judge Gil McBride why Levinsohn’s killer deserves the harshest sentence.
“Little did we know," Wetzel said, "the boogeyman would not be a man in a hockey mask standing outside our childhood window, but a coward who would take Kelly’s life as a 44-year-old.”
The former Columbus Police Sergeant is admitting guilt in shooting his girlfriend to death. An alcoholic, Talley said he does not remember pulling the trigger and no amount of regret can put the bullet back in the gun.
“I want you to understand I’m not blaming this on alcohol," Talley said.
“He still wakes up and thinks Kelly’s still alive," defense attorney Jennifer Curry said, "and this is a nightmare.”
One person who has stood by Talley’s side throughout this judicial journey is his wife, Becky. She said the shooting was an accident.
“He was literally out of his mind," Becky Talley said, “Bill told me himself ultimately a life was lost, Kelly’s life was lost, and he is heartbroken that it was at his hand because he did love her too.”
At the end of the day, the court processes are over. Judge Gil McBride sentenced the 52-year-old to life in prison with the possibility of parole when he is 82 years old.
“If we could bring her back, that would be best, but short of that, I think this was justice," assistant district attorney Robin King.
Talley did speak to the virtual courtroom today, saying he is sorry. He said he knows those are just hollow words, but he wishes he could go back and would do anything to keep this from happening.