"Boy’s killer admits ‘evil acts’ at sentencing" Associated Press November 21, 2016
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man who admitted to abducting, sexually assaulting, and killing 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling 27 years ago apologized in court Monday for his ‘‘evil acts’’ as he was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a child pornography count.
The pornography charge allowed authorities to close the books on a mystery that had haunted the state for nearly three decades.
Danny Heinrich, 53, led authorities this summer to the field where he buried Jacob’s remains. As part of his plea bargain, prosecutors agreed not to charge Heinrich with murder.
‘‘I am truly sorry for my evil acts,’’ Heinrich said as he stood before US District Judge John Tunheim and the Wetterling family.
Heinrich told Jacob’s parents and siblings his actions were ‘‘heinous’’ and ‘‘unforgivable’’ and apologized for what he took away from them.
The sentence was the maximum the law allowed, and Heinrich technically could complete it in 17 years with good behavior, but the plea deal allows authorities to seek his civil commitment as a sexual predator at the end of his federal prison term.
‘‘What you’ve done is so heinous, so brutal, and so awful that I don’t believe society will let you go free,’’ Tunheim said.
While some questioned whether it was adequate punishment, Jacob’s parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, have agreed with prosecutors that it was their best hope.