A 29-year-old man who brutally attacked and killed a young woman in Janesville has been sentenced to 45-years in prison before any possibility of supervised release. Clayton Courtney of Janesville admitted to bludgeoning 21-year-old Britney Cross to death near Traxler Park a year ago in May.
The prosecution and defense had agreed to 40-years in an effort to give Courtney a chance at rehabilitation, but Rock County Judge James Daley exceeded that deal at Courtney’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
“I’ve got to send a message to the community that this conduct and the conduct which resulted in this crime is not acceptable,” Daley told Courtney. “I’ve got to send a message to you that this is totally unacceptable.” Cross’ body was found along the Rock River on May 4, 2014. Courtney attacked her in a drug-and alcohol-fueled rage, fracturing her skull and teeth with rocks, Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan said. Courtney was also accused of stabbing roomate Michael Clark and setting their house ablaze
“Words cannot describe the pain I’ve caused,” Courtney said in court. “I feel so much guilt and shame for what I’ve done. It was such a selfish act. I committed the ultimate sin. Britney did not deserve to die, nor did Mike deserve to be assaulted. For the rest of my life I will live with regret.”
Courtney also was charged with attempted murder for his assault on Clark the night of the murder. That charge was dismissed in a plea agreement but read into the record. Clark said he was not satisfied with the sentence. “I think he should have gotten a lot more,” he said. “At least a life sentence for her, without parole.