Man gets life for 1998 slaying

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — As the father of an 18-year-old video store clerk spoke to her confessed killer, a slide show flashed on a monitor in a Montana courtroom Friday: the young woman smiling with a fish dangling from a pole, laughing with her brother perched atop a boulder and posing in a formal dress before a school dance.

“You are lucky I am not the judge because I would have you hung to death,” Mike Fenner told Zachary David O’Neill before he received a life sentence for Amanda Fenner’s 1998 murder and the rape of a second victim.

“God will deliver the justice and I will see you in hell. I will go just to see you.”

O’Neill, 39, remained slumped in his chair, his head down, through much of the proceedings. He told The Associated Press in a jailhouse interview ahead of the sentencing that he had repeatedly tried to confess to the killing 17 years after it happened after his conscience caught up with him following a lifetime of petty crimes and drug use.

“In 1998 I was an 18-year-old kid and I’m not the same person I was 21 years ago,” O’Neill said. “I hope by turning myself in and confessing you will get the justice you deserve.”