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Family Still Lacking Closure As Killer Is Sentenced To 48 Years

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) - An Adams County judge on Friday sentenced a Westminster man to 48 years in prison for murdering a 19-year-old woman whose body has never been found.

Christopher Waide, 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in September in the death of Lea Porter.

Porter's family reported her missing in June 2014. The southern Colorado woman disappeared while she was in the Denver metro area making plans to move to the city.

In court on Friday, the version of events Waide supposedly gave police were revealed.

Christopher Waide
Christopher Waide (credit: CBS)

- He allegedly said he choked Porter while she was visiting him at his apartment.

- Porter fell lifelessly to the floor and struck a knife on her way down.

- He then stuffed her body into a duffel bag and placed it into a dumpster.

Family members of Porter had hoped for a life sentence in the case, but since Waide took a deal pleading to a lesser charge (second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder) he was sentenced to 48 years.

"Unless we find Lea I think that it it kind of opens it up to having no closure. If we had Lea we could maybe begin to heal and get some closure, but without Lea and not knowing where she is, with her murderer being the only one that knows where my daughter is ... that is the most difficult thing to live with," Porter's mother Rene Jackson told CBS4. "We know what they found at the landfill and what they didn't find. They didn't find a big duffle bag with a body in it. They found a little ring that I'm about ready to go pick up from Westy police."

Waide spoke on Friday for the first time since his arrest 17 months ago. He told the court he was sorry for what happened, and that his sorrow is a debt he'll never be able to repay.

"I don't think he got enough time. I wish he would have gotten life... if you take a life, you should get life," said Jackson.

In court, Waide's father told the judge, "We've been forced to listen to a long stream of one-sided testimony against my son" and said he was proud of him.

"I had a hard time listening to his dad say he was proud of his son but I was glad to see the judge disagree promptly," said Jackson.

Days before he was arrested, Waide talked with CBS4's Jennifer Brice and denied knowing where she was.

Christoper Waide
CBS4's Jennifer Brice interviews Christoper Waide (credit: CBS)

"I just want her to be safe. I really don't have very many friends but the friends I do have I'm very loyal to. So, even losing one is a heavy blow to me," said Waide.

In court Waide said "every night" he relives that "retched day" and "All I can say is from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry."

The judge told Waide he didn't buy his side of the story and because Lea's body has never been found he's denied her family the closure they deserve.

Waide could be eligible for parole in about 30 years. He would be 53.

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