ITHACA, N.Y. --An upstate New York man has been sentenced to 22 years to life in the murder of his girlfriend, a Cornell University engineering student, reports CBS affiliate WBNG.
A jury in October found Benjamin Cayea guilty of strangling and smothering his girlfriend, 23-year-old Shannon Jones, on Thanksgiving Day 2014 during an argument at their home in the village of Cayuga Heights, just outside Ithaca.
Prosecutors say he confessed to a detective in the hours after the murder of Jones, a native of Potomac, Md., saying he "lost it" and killed her, reports the Ithaca Journal. But a different story emerged at trial, where his defense maintained it was a sexual encounter gone wrong.
Taking the stand, Cayea, 33, said Jones had asked him to choke her while they were having sex after they had argued in her apartment. He said he accidentally strangled her to death.
"I'll always love her," Cayea said at his sentencing Monday in a statement before the court, according to the Ithaca Journal. "I fully accept that I am responsible for her death."