Victim's father scolds killer Becker sentenced to life in prison
BY BRETT HAMBRIGHT, Staff Writer
A judge on Thursday sentenced Matthew Scott Becker to life in prison for the 2011 murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Allison Walsh.
Just as he did during his trial, he refused to comment on the shooting that also killed his unborn daughter.
"I don't have nothing to say, your honor," Becker, shaking his head, told Lancaster County President Judge Joseph Madenspacher.
Walsh's father and the judge, however, had much to say during the hourlong sentencing hearing.
"You didn't love her," Tom Walsh told Becker, the two men just steps apart. "You just didn't want to be alone. Maybe she made you feel better about your miserable life.
"I don't know what she saw in you, Matt Becker, and why she was even with you."
Witnesses testified at trial that Becker, 23, was abusive to Walsh and had previously threatened her with guns before pulling the trigger on Aug. 12, 2011. A bullet struck Allison, 21, in the forehead while she was in bed, reading, according to testimony.
"All she wanted to do was rest, but you couldn't even let her do that," Walsh told Becker. "On August 12, 2011, Allison went home. She went home to where she didn't have to be harassed, tormented and called names."
Becker's defense team, which also declined comment Thursday, argued during the trial that the shooting was an accident.
Attorneys Dennis Charles and Gavin Holihan claimed a round was accidentally fired from a "defective" gun Becker had bought only hours earlier.
"Only you know what completely and totally happened that night," Madenspacher told Becker. "But I know this: You did absolutely nothing to even attempt to save Allison and the baby.
"I don't believe (Walsh) could have been saved, but you didn't even try."
Becker, of Mastersonville, stood silently between his two attorneys, at times shaking at the knees, with his head tilted. About 15 of Walsh's family and friends watched as Becker was escorted out of the room in handcuffs.
A couple of Becker's supporters, including his father, also watched. Becker never acknowledged them.
Madenspacher also ordered Becker to a consecutive 20-to-40-year prison term for killing the unborn baby, named Lexie, who died minutes after an emergency Caesarean section.
Madenspacher said he realized that the sentence is "moot" because of the life term, but said Lexie deserved a separate sentence.
The trial opened Feb. 25 with jury selection. A week later, testimony began and lasted over two weeks.
The jury spent 11 hours over two days deciding Becker committed first-degree murder.
The jury, days later, "in an act of mercy, spared you the death penalty," Madenspacher said in court.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman, the lead prosecutor, said little Thursday, instead allowing Tom Walsh to speak for his daughter and her survivors.
"This trial was not about gun control," Walsh said. "It was about self-control."
Walsh said "a whole next generation" also will be affected by the shooting.
"Lexie will just be a name they hear," Walsh said, "and Allison will just be an aunt they didn't get to know."
Relatives wept in the gallery as Walsh addressed the "nightmare" Allison was living during her time with Becker in the summer of 2011.
Witnesses testified at the trial that Walsh was verbally abused "constantly."
In her final text message to her sister, Walsh said, his daughter said she wanted to buy a baby toy she spotted at a store, but it was too expensive.
Hours later, Walsh pointed out, Becker spent $400 on a pistol that became the weapon used to murder his daughter.
"It was all about Matt that day," Walsh said.
Later, Madenspacher scolded Becker for not calling 911 or running to a neighbor for help after realizing Allison was shot.
"It was about you trying to explain it away," the judge told Becker. "In other words, trying to cover it up."