UPDATE 8/25/10 @ 9 a.m.
PIKEVILLE, Ky (WSAZ) -- A Pike County man who pleaded guilty to killing his niece eight months ago learned his prison sentence Tuesday afternoon.
49-year-old David Joe Ratliff was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Police say he shot Rachel Ratliff, 30, on the New Year's holiday weekend.
Family members say he shot her in front of her six year old son.
The family confronted Ratliff in court and said their lives will never be the same after he killed Rachel.
“What kind of evil monster can do something like that, but then to do that in front of a six year old child, I mean he saw it all, he saw everything,” Kathy Rogers said.
The family is satisfied with the sentence but say they will never have closure.
“She's never coming back. She's gone forever and he gets to live, but we believe she won the fight because she was kind hearted and she was spirited," said Rogers. "We truly believe she's in a better place, and I don't see any hope for David.”
The commonwealth is opposed to any probation for David Ratliff.
Rachel Ratliff's three sons age six, ten, and 12 are now in custody of other family members.
David Joe Ratliff pleaded guilty Wednesday to shooting his 30-year-old niece Rachel Ratliff in the face, killing her, according to Pike Circuit Judge Steve Comb's office.
Comb's office tells WSAZ.com it was recommended Ratliff receive a 20 year sentence.
Ratliff is being held in the Pike County Detention Center, awaiting sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for next month.
Witnesses say 49-year-old David Joe Ratliff shot 30-year-old Rachel Ratliff in the face during an argument Saturday morning at a home in Regina.
David Joe Ratliff is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Thursday
Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike Goble said 30-year-old Rachel Ratliff was shot and killed Saturday morning at her uncle's home in Pike County. Rachel lived just down the street from him.
Police were called to Frankie Fork Road in Regina, Kentucky about 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
"Dispatchers were able to tell from the call that some type of disturbance was going on there," Goble said.
When Troopers got there, they saw 49-year-old David Ratliff running out the back door of his home with a semi automatic handgun. Troopers said alcohol may have been involved. State Police said Ratliff is being charged with murder.
A six-year-old boy and Rachel Ratliff's boyfriend were at the home when the incident occurred.
At this time, police say they aren't sure why David allegedly shot his niece. One neighbor said although she could hear the two scream at each other on occasion, she never expected something like this to happen.
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