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Man gets 60 years for 1986 Connecticut murder

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A former New York City man was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a 1986 killing in Connecticut, where another man served 20 years in prison for the murder before he was exonerated by new DNA tests and freed.

Forty-seven-year-old Kevin Benefield was sentenced Friday in New Haven Superior Court for the beating death of Barbara Pelkey, a 30-year-old mother of four who police say was also sexually assaulted. The former Bronx resident was convicted in January of murder and felony murder.

“We hope this sentence brings some peace of mind and comfort to the family,” said prosecutor Kevin Doyle, who handled the case with prosecutor Stacey Miranda. “What they endured no family should have to endure. The way they were able to maintain their dignity and sit through the proceedings is just unbelievable.”

Another man, Kenneth Ireland, had been convicted of killing Pelkey and served two decades behind bars before being released in August 2009 based on new DNA testing.

“It was the only fair sentence under the circumstances,” said Ireland’s attorney, William Bloss.

Ireland is seeking $8 million from the state under Connecticut’s wrongful incarceration law.

Messages were left for Benefield’s attorney.

Pelkey’s nude body was found at a manufacturing company where she worked in her hometown of Wallingford.

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