VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Lamont Johnson, 45, will spend 25.5 years behind bars after being found guilty of second-degree murder and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child in connection with the death of Virginia Beach mother Bellamy Gamboa.
While the family says they are glad Johnson received the full sentence, never finding Gamboa's body robbed them of a proper funeral and closure.
"How cruel. How cruel could you be?" asked Gamboa's family member, Roxann Case-Hicks, following today's sentencing.
Case-Hicks and her husband, Kyle Hicks, care for Gamboa's two eldest children, who are not biologically related to Johnson.
"They don't have their mom," Hicks cried out while he hugged his grandchildren. "We serve a mighty God. I have to forgive him. And I'll be on my knees praying for God to help me."
The grandparents also spoke inside of the courtroom today, emphasizing the trauma Gamboa's two other kids have endured after watching their mother be strangled to death by Johnson.
"To think that he says that he loves his kids and they're his life but he did it in front of them," said Case-Hicks. "They've been traumatized...we've watched them suffer."
Johnson himself also spoke in court today, arguing that his original confession stemmed from fear and confusion.
Johnson spent about 10 minutes pleading with Judge Lewis for mercy, but never apologized to the family for Gamboa's murder. Instead, Johnson only gave his condolences.
"I'm begging you, Your Honor," Johnson said inside the courtroom today. "I would be on my knees if I could."
However, Judge Lewis called this case vile and inhuman.
"I find Johnson's lack of remorse to be disgusting," said the judge, before striking down a full sentence on Johnson.
Johnson was sentenced to 25.5 years for second-degree murder and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.
"I'm grateful that he got what the jury gave him," said Case-Hicks. "I wish he could've gotten more."
Gamboa's family members say Bellamy was a funny and unique person who would do anything for her kids.