Family of murder victims speak at Hullihen sentencing
REED CITY - Two lives were ended the night Blake Hullihen shot Gabrielle Woodworth and Donald C. Feneis in a gas station parking lot, but family of the victims told Hullihen on Friday that his actions impacted many others.
"You took more than the lives of two human beings who were wanted, needed and loved by many family members," said Rebecca Gruno, Gabrielle's mother. "You stole more than their breath and the beat of their hearts. … You left vacant seats at the family table and silenced laughter we shared with them."
Hullihen was sentenced on Friday in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court. He was found guilty in January on two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of felony use of a firearm.
Gruno spoke about Gabrielle's three daughters, one of whom she shared with Hullihen, while holding a photograph of Gabrielle. Two of Gabrielle's daughters were in the car at the time of the shootings. The daughter Gabrielle and Hullihen shared was not present at the would-be custody exchange. Hullihen left her with his parents when he went to meet Gabrielle.
"There is a little girl who can't understand why you would choose to take her mother and her father away," Gruno said. "The youngest kisses this photo goodnight every night. I say she's lucky to be able to sleep, because (her sister) wakes up every night with night terrors, sweating, scared of the man in the dark who took her mother away.
"One of the girls came to me with a concern. … She wanted to know how to respond when friends asked how old her mother was - is - and if her dad is nice. I've never prepared myself for these kinds of questions, and I shouldn't have to."
Gabrielle's brother, Andrew Woodworth, stood with his mother as she spoke to Hullihen and offered his own statement when she finished.
"This crime was so bad that I couldn't see my sister at her funeral. We had a closed casket, and this was disgusting," he said. "I hope the justice system will prevail with the sentence."
Donald Feneis, the father of the victim by the same name, had harsh words for Hullihen, calling him a scumbag as he left the podium.
"You did nothing for that child but ruin her livelihood and ability to grow up with a family," he said. "You didn't do your job as a father. You're not a father. You're a disgusting piece of dirt."
Because of the "ripple effect that goes farther than this courtroom," Osceola County Assistant Prosecutor Andy Le Pres asked Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy to impose a higher sentence than the one suggested by the probation department.
Through his attorney, Dennis DuVall, Hullihen asked for the maximum sentence - life in prison - to give him a chance at being paroled after 15 years.
Hill-Kennedy opted to sentence Hullihen to a greater sentence because Hullihen's crime was "as serious as something can be in the criminal world."
Hullihen will serve 37-and-a-half years to 75 years in prison for the murder charges. He will also serve two years for each felony firearm charge, terms that will run consecutively and must be completed before he begins serving time for the murders.
He was given credit against the sentence for the past year and 84 days he has been in Osceola County Jail.
Hullihen also must pay $6,358.36 in restitution, part of which covers funeral costs for the victims.