The upstate man convicted of killing a vivacious young dancer after meeting her at a Manhattan nightclub in 2008 was sentenced to 23 years in prison yesterday in an Orange County Court.
Michael Mele, 26, who had previous sex offender convictions and was on probation in 2008 for approaching women while touching himself, will be eligible for parole in 20 years in the murder of Laura Garza, 25.
"This person has destroyed our lives," Garza's brother, Ivan, told the court, according to the New York Post.
Mele, who pleaded guilty to killing Garza in January, said he suffocated her at his home on Dec. 3, 2008 after the two argued when she saw photos of him and his girlfriend.
Garza vanished only five months after moving to Brooklyn from Texas, hoping to find success in New York. Her body was found in April 2010, near Scranton, Pa, 85 miles from Mele's house.