Officer Nick Rodman's widow addresses killer in court
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It was an emotional day in court Friday as the widow of beloved Louisville Metro Police Officer Nick Rodman addressed her husband's killer.
>>> PREVIOUS STORY: Man sentenced to 35 years in LMPD officer's death
The courtroom was packed on formal sentencing day for Wathaniel Woods, 38. In April, Woods took a plea deal and a 35-year sentence for the 2017 chase that ended when Woods crashed his car into Officer Rodman's cruiser, killing him. At his sentencing, the Friday before Father's Day, Nick Rodman's widow Ashley told a stoic Woods what her young children have lost.
"Our now 3-year-old son Mason asks for his daddy every single day," Ashley said while holding back tears. "He is constantly asking me to take him to heaven so he can see him."
>>> WATCH: Ashley Rodman's full victim impact statement
At age 30, Ashley Rodman became a widow and single mother following the police chase of an intoxicated Woods on March 28, 2017. After a woman called police and said Woods, the father of her child, struck her with a handgun, Woods took police on a chase and hit a pedestrian, before running a red light at 26th and Duncan. That's when he slammed into Rodman's cruiser.
With a courtroom full of police officers, including LMPD chief Steve Conrad and State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders, listening to every word, Ashley Rodman said she will never forget the panic of being called to the hospital.
"I walked through a hallway and saw some of Nick's squad who are also some of Nick's best friends," she said. "The majority of them wouldn't look me in the eye or turned their backs away from me. I later found out it was because my husband's blood was all over their uniforms and they didn't want me to see it."
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Ashley then spoke on how Woods' actions have continued to impact her life.
"He took the love of my life away from me and our children. Mr. Woods' actions and disregard for human life is unforgivable,' Ashley said.
While sentencing Woods to 35 years, an emotional Judge Barry Willett said the multiple victim impact statements from officers and the community were gut wrenching.
"Our community is a safer place because of the men and women in blue who serve us, day in and day out," Judge Willett said.
LMPD Lieutenant Arnold Rivera told WAVE 3 News he was incredibly proud of Ashley Rodman's strength in court.
Woods, who pleaded guilty to murder, wanton endangerment and several other charges, will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
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