The family of a late Massachusetts woman is not happy her killer was given a plea deal.
Jason Fleury, 37, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2014 death of 25-year-old Jaimee Mendez. Prosecutors say he dumped her body in the ocean months before it washed up on shore in Swampscott.
Fleury was sentenced to 17 years in prison, but will get credit for time served.
Mendez's family is stunned and angry.
The young mother’s family had been through a rollercoaster of pain, starting with her disappearance in November 2014, her body washing up on King’s Beach in pieces, long months waiting for the state Medical Examiner to release her body, and finally with police charging then 37-year-old Jason Fleury with her murder nine months after she went missing.
Mendez's mother did not hold back as she addressed Fleury in court.
"I want him to know that if you don't feel her yet, you will. You will feel her," she said. "You took her rom her son."
Prosecutors said they had strong evidence, including Mendez's blood in Fleury's car, but they gave him a deal to trade a murder trial for a manslaughter conviction.
"I wanted him to get life without parole," Mendez's mother said.
The last anyone heard from Mendez was when she called a friend to say she was with a man who made her nervous. That man, prosecutors say, was Fleury, a convicted sex offender who fled to Virginia after she went missing.
Nine months later, he was charged with her murder, but few details about how and why Mendez was killed have ever been released. Her family hoped they’d get answers at his trial, which was slated to start in two weeks.
“You try not to fall apart every single day,” the victim's aunt, Beatrice Mendez, said through tears Thursday. “You put on a face to go on and get ready for something that is going to rip your heart out.”