Transcript of Judge Judith-McDonald Burkman's sentence

This sentence is not typical of a capital case in this Commonwealth. I have no benefit of a jury on verdict or on sentencing.

Therefore the court conducted additional and extensive research into the difference, day to day between living on death row versus surviving in general population. Kentucky has one maximum security penitentiary. Regardless of the sentence today Cecil New will be housed there. And generally, the differences between living on death row and living in the general population as I understand it in my investigation and research are as follows:

Death rows are separated into a special management unit. They are segregated from all other prisoners. The guard to inmate ratio is 32-to-1. Death row inmates only congregate with each other about three hours a day. However, a death row inmate can opt out of congregating with others, and can even have meals sent to his cell.

General population is a mixture of prisoners serving life sentences, life without parole for at least 25 years and life without parole.

The guard to inmate ratio in that population is 150-to-1. General population inmates must congregate with their fellow prisoners for meals and other events, roughly 3-1/2 hours a day. In the event an inmate feels he is in need of protection from other inmates, he may be placed in protective custody, if approved by the warden, with other inmates also in protective custody. But he is never truly isolated since he must congregate with others for meals and some other events.

Statistics in this Commonwealth show that inmates will spend about 20 years on death row before an execution is scheduled. The word "justice" is a very loose term. It's something different for everybody. And death is undoubtedly justified for you. Undoubtedly.

There's not one cell in your body, Cecil New, that can be rehabilitated. Not one. But is death - a death sentence - truly justified? Is it justice is the question.

A wise teenager once came to me and advised me to think about true punishment, not a knee-jerk reaction. Those words stuck with me. Hence, my investigation on what is true justice.

Ironically, the death penalty is an anomaly in our criminal justice system. It is not carried out in a quick manner. It would give you, on average, at least 20 years of the highest and ultimate protection in prison. This court cannot find justice in that reality.

In this case there's theoretical justice and there's real justice. Death is easy. Death is the knee-jerk reaction and it is easy. Living outside of death row in general population in fear of prison justice every day is a Hell more suited to you Mr. New than living under the justice guise of death row.

And therefore the court does sentence you to confinement in the penitentiary for your entire life without the possibility of parole every for the kidnapping of Ivan Cano.

The court sentences you to confinement in the penitentiary for your entire life without the possibility of parole, ever, for the murder of Ivan Cano.

The court sentences you to five years for tampering with physical evidence, 12 months for unlawful transaction with a minor, all those for a total of a life sentence without the possibility of parole, ever.

Despite your waiver of appeal in this case, this case may be reviewed by the Supreme Court, and your attorneys will advise you of the rights in that regard, is that right Mr. Lambert?

Make no mistake Cecil New, and let the court make this perfectly clear - this is a sentence not of mercy. It is not an act of mercy. It is not an anti-death penalty stance, either. It's a sentence that this court believes will mete out the harshest punishment currently available You deserve nothing less than the harshest punishment. And I hope that this sentence pales in comparison to what you will receive ultimately from above.

To Ivan's mother and father, your child is this community's child. And your child will always be revered. And your child - this community's child will never, ever be forgotten. And I hope - all of us hope - that Ivan always reminds us of what is most precious in life and to protect those little gifts, always.

I hope that you will find some comfort knowing that the only human contact Cecil New will have for the rest of his life will be with bigger, meaner men who have nothing to lose or who are armed. And that he will live in fear every day. That he will be the smaller, the weaker, the more defenseless, and that he will wish this court had put him on death row.

Cecil New, you will now be transported by the Department of Corrections to serve your sentence.