- COMMUNITY LINKS
Several family members of homicide victim Irene Challingsworth addressed Lawrence Donachy, found guilty of her homicide and sentenced to life in prison without parole, during his sentencing hearing held Monday afternoon at the Elk County Courthouse.
The first to speak was Challingsworth's daughter, Kelly Bauer of St. Marys, who also testified during the preliminary hearing and trial.
Bauer said Challingsworth was a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter and much more to the people who cared about her.
"We grieve for her daily," Bauer said. "She was taken from here in a horrific way."
Bauer said Donachy took a piece of Challingsworth away from each family member.
"Because of you, I will never be able to see my mom again, see her smile, enjoy her company, tell her that I love her or watch her play with her grandchildren," Bauer said. "I can't believe someone could be so cruel and heartless. No one has the right to take an innocent life. You will pay for your actions and may God have mercy on you."
Jane Bologna of St. Marys, one of Challingsworth's sisters, spoke next.
"Irene was a beautiful person inside and outside," Bologna said. "She truly loved life. She loved to sit in the sun, go for long drives, go on vacation, go out to dinner, dance and go to family get-togethers. She considered her daughter her greatest gift."
Bologna added that Donachy will never be able to enjoy the things Challingsworth did, as he will be locked away for the rest of his life.
"I see an empty person. The viciousness of how you killed my sister is beyond understanding," Bologna said. "Whenever you hear your cell door slam, listen to me say, 'This is for Irene.'"
Challingsworth's niece and goddaughter, Alicia Shriver, 27, of Kersey then addressed Donachy.
Shriver described Challingsworth as her role model.
"You took something different from all of us," Shriver said. "You took my trust in God and joy in life."
Shriver said that she was supposed to stay the night at Challingsworth's home the evening of her murder.
"Would I have died, too? Would you have done those things to me? Would I have been able to stop you? Would you have killed me, too?" Shriver said, explaining that these are the "what ifs?" questions she asks herself.
"I'm no longer allowing you to take anything from me, including my relationship with God," Shriver added. "I will forgive you but never forget."
Pick up a copy of the Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.