BENTON, Tenn. - A man who shot a woman eight times then hacked her and his estranged wife with a machete was sentenced Thursday to 32 years in prison.
"This is one of the most senseless, brutal slayings I have ever witnessed in my entire career," Judge Carroll Ross said during sentencing.
The judge told Bradley Waldroup, Jr. that nothing convinced him that Mr. Waldroup had any "remote reason or adequate provocation" for his attacks on his then-wife Penny Waldroup and her friend Leslie Bradshaw on Oct. 16, 2006.
Mr. Waldroup showed no visible response upon sentencing.
The attack took place in Polk County when Mrs. Waldroup, accompanied by Mrs. Bradshaw, brought the couple's four children for a visit to Mr. Waldroup's home. Mrs. Bradshaw was killed. Ms. Waldroup was shot, cut with a knife and a machete and beaten with a shovel, but survived.
Ms. Waldroup testified that she is still haunted by that night and its consequences.
"I often look out my window in the middle of the night to make sure he's not there," she said.
Mr. Waldroup was found guilty of four counts related to the event during his March trial. But family members of the victim and even the prosecutors were puzzled that the jury found Mr. Waldroup guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than felony murder.
Judge Ross sentenced Mr. Waldroup to six years for voluntary manslaughter and 12 years for an aggravated kidnapping charge, both related to Mrs. Bradshaw. The amounts were the maximum allowed under Tennessee law.
Mr. Waldroup also was sentenced to 20 years for especially aggravated kidnapping and 12 years for attempted second-degree murder, both related to his actions against Ms. Waldroup.
Based on how the judge defined the sentencing, Mr. Waldroup would not likely be eligible for any review by the Tennessee Department of Correction for at least 20 years, said Drew Robinson, Polk County assistant district attorney and prosecutor in the case.
Following the court proceedings, Ms. Waldroup said the sentencing brought some comfort after the shock of the jury's manslaughter verdict.
Both the defense and prosecution called family members and friends of both Mrs. Bradshaw and Ms. Waldroup to the witness stand prior to the judge's sentencing.
Sue Crisp, Mrs. Bradshaw's mother, sobbed throughout her testimony.
"They might be getting over it, but that's my baby," Mrs. Crisp wailed. "What am I going to do? This trial plays over and over in my mind ... she was there to help her best friend."
Judge Ross advised Mr. Waldroup to think carefully about filing a post conviction document, which is sometimes used by defendants to claim ineffective counsel and seek a different sentence.
"The state probably wouldn't mind trying this again and trying to find a jury to get the death sentence," he said to Mr. Waldroup, seated directly in front of the judge's bench.
"You might not be as fortunate with a jury the next time," Judge Ross said.