Theresa Crout lamented the fact that she can never again bake Christmas cookies with her sister, Erin Jones, as they did the year before Jones died.

    The Denver woman said Wednesday that her sister's killer, former Dodge City policeman Christopher Tahah, had taken a piece of Crout's soul that could never be replaced.


    Theresa Crout lamented the fact that she can never again bake Christmas cookies with her sister, Erin Jones, as they did the year before Jones died.
    The Denver woman said Wednesday that her sister's killer, former Dodge City policeman Christopher Tahah, had taken a piece of Crout's soul that could never be replaced.
    "You didn't care that she was a daughter, you didn't care that she was a mother," Crout said during Tahah's sentencing hearing. "You didn't care that she was a sister and a great friend. You only cared that she didn't want you, and you wanted to make sure no one else could have her."
    Tahah was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 20 years, for killing Jones on May 5, 2007. The two had been dating, but Jones had broken off the relationship earlier that spring.
    In addition to the life sentence, Tahah will also serve 102 months for criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling. The sentences will run consecutively.
    If Tahah is paroled after completing at least 20 years of his life sentence, he will start serving the sentence on the firearms charge. He may receive a 15 percent reduction in his sentence on the firearms charge if he behaves well in prison, but not on the life sentence.
    The courtroom was filled with raw emotion Wednesday as Jones' parents and sister testified about how her death had changed their lives.
    "I want it to be known that we found out later that Erin was absolutely scared to death of Mr. Tahah," Jones' father, Lyman Wade, said in a shaky voice. "And when I found out she had died by his hand, it absolutely tore me apart."
    Jones' mother, Carol Wade, started crying and shaking as she addressed District Judge Leigh Hood.
    "Right now, we cannot forgive what this intolerable human has done to my daughter," she said, referring to Tahah. "My daughter's death was senseless and meaningless."
    Tahah declined to speak on his own behalf. But his attorney, Peter Orsi, said he hoped Jones' family would take some comfort from a forensic scientist, who testified at trial that Jones had not suffered before she died.
    Orsi also asked Hood to impose the shortest possible sentence — 96 months in prison — for the firearms charge, based on Orsi's contention that Tahah had been a model citizen before he was charged with killing Jones.
    But Ford County Attorney John Sauer argued for the maximum possible sentence, given Tahah's background as a Dodge City policeman and his training in handling firearms.
    "He should be held to a higher standard," Sauer said.
    Before announcing the sentence, Hood said it would take the police department a long time to recover from what Tahah had done.
    "You were a Dodge City police officer," the judge said. "I know from talking to people in this community that our police department has a black eye because of your actions."
    Outside the courtroom, Tahah's brother Stephen had only one thing to say about the case: "He was railroaded."

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.