PARK COUNTY, Colo. -- A murder case that gripped Colorado for months finally came to an end on Wednesday, with Melissa Miller, the woman accused of killed her roommate Annie Meyer, pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Part of the plea deal includes a prison term of 20 years for Miller, and a mandatory parole period of five years. The judge also gave Miller time served for the 135 days she has spent in jail since her arrest in July.
For Meyer's brother, Mark Meyer, the sentence was not long enough.
"If she gets out she will do it again," said Mark said in court Wednesday. "We want you to lock her up and throw away the key."
Miller's sister, Maris Paris, was also given the opportunity to speak during the sentencing portion of the court proceeding Wednesday.
"This group of friends is always fighting and stealing each other's girlfriends," Paris said.
Though no details about any fights between the roommates ever made public, police searched Annie's Wheat Ridge home multiple times after she was reported missing in late February. They found no signs of foul play until Annie's body was eventually found in Park County in July.
Over four months after that discovery, some long-awaited closure was finally delivered to Annie's friends and family.
"We didn't want to go through court," Meyer’s brother Mark said before getting the word that Miller was expected to plead guilty. “We don't want to listen to what may have happened to our sister."
Since his sister’s disappearance, Mark has led searches, vigils and tributes. On Wednesday, he got his wish in Park County: The dirty laundry about his sister’s murder was not aired.
That said, sitting in court still wasn't easy.
“It’s tough,” Mark said. “But I’m just glad it’s over.”
In a video taken during a confrontation by Annie's friends before her body was found, Miller defended herself, denying she was not involved in the murder. In fact, her tone in addressing Annie’s friends was accusatory.
"You guys are freaking ripping me apart, and I did nothing,” Miller was seen saying in the video. “I loved Annie more than any of you."
For Mark, Wednesday's court hearing was about closure and grieving all over again. Thankfully for him, he wasn't alone, as much of the Meyer family flew in from Minnesota to join him at the court proceeding.
"It has come in stages,” Mark said. “The first part was finding her. We did that. Prosecuting was another stage. Now, the sentencing part is another stage."