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Man Who Killed Former WCCO Engineer Sentenced To Life In Prison

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The man who murdered a 95-year-old grandfather in his Anoka home was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Isaiah Thomas, 28, pleaded guilty last month. He admitted that he broke into Albert Loehlein's home in November 2016 and beat him to death before ransacking the house. At the time of the murder,  Thomas was awaiting sentencing on another burglary case.

Isaiah Montrell Thomas
Isaiah Montrell Thomas (credit: Anoka County Jail)

Loehlein worked for WCCO Radio for decades, taking care of the transmitter in Coon Rapids.

Inside a packed courtroom Monday, Thomas had to listen to Loehlein's children speak about their father.

"He beat my dad, left his body sprawled in his bedroom," said his son, Ray Loehlein. "Then [he] went through his home taking items to pawn."

Stolen were several pocket watches and a clock. For the clock, Thomas received $22.50 at the pawn shop.

Eldest daughter Linda Fenwick discovered her dad's badly beaten body.

"Never in a million years did we think that we had to protect dad from the scum of the earth who would kill an aging, vulnerable man in his own home," she said.

When it was Thomas's turn to speak, he said he was sorry but explained he was a product of poverty.

"I stand remorseful today," he said.

After the sentencing, County Attorney Tony Palumbo says the family deserves to begin healing.

"They want to look forward to the good memories they have of their father and not have to be concerned with the awful memories that occurred in the last year and a half," he said.

Judge Barry Sullivan imposed a mandatory life term, with possible release after 30 years.

But Loehlein's family promised his grandchildren won't lose track and will be there to block it.

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