The murderer of Lorina "Lori" Kyle, 40, daughter-in-law of Paul and Bonnie Perkins of Joseph, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in a Umatilla County courtroom recently.
Emilio Joseph Blea, 46, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Rudy Murgo.
Blea was charged with the murder of Kyle during the robbery of her gift shop, Kyle Gift World, in Power City just north of Hermiston in March, 2002. He struck her over the head several times with a ratchet handle and then took a bag containing $1,700. He was eventually charged with the crime in January of 2003.
In a plea agreement at the end of August, Blea pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and first degree murder to avoid the possibility of the death penalty which could have been imposed by a jury. A second count of aggravated murder, one count of murder and one count of assault were dismissed by the Umatilla County district attorney's office.
In a statement on behalf of the family read at sentencing, Bonnie Perkins talked about how the murder had affected their whole family, especially Kyle's son, Jimmy, now 12, who is making his home with the Perkinses in Joseph.
"We will always live with a measure of fear lurking in the shadows, nightmares rearing their head when we least expect," said Perkins. "Our lives will never be the same. ... He (Blea) gave no mercy and should receive no mercy."
Perkins asked that the judge sentence Blea to "true life, life without possibility of parole." Jimmy, the victim's son, said to the judge "he took my mom's life. He should go to prison for a hundred years and never get out."
James, the victim's husband and the Perkinses' son who now operates the gift shop by himself, said after the sentencing, "I'm just so glad it's all over. She can finally rest in peace."