Man sentenced in deaths of Newton mother and daughter

NEWTON, Kan. (KWCH) The man convicted of murdering a mother and daughter in Newton was sentenced to life in prison Friday afternoon.

Keith Hawkins pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder on Dec. 8. Prosecutors say he strangled 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and stabbed four-year-old daughter, Zaylynn Paz.

Family members of the mother and daughter addressed the court and Hawkins during the sentencing hearing.

"What you took can never be replaced. I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye; give them a kiss or a hug. What you can't take is the memories we shared and I will carry them with me forever," said Denise Good Alyssa's grandmother and Zaylynn's great-grandmother.

She also said because of the murders Alyssa's other daughter, who is now 6-years-old, is without her mother and sister.

"You sir are not bad, you are evil," said Good. "If anyone deserved to die it is you, but I could not agree to such an action as that would make me your equal something I will never be."

Alyssa's mother echoed her mother's sentiments.

"You stole their lives. You took my babies from me. from our family," said Tracy Good.

Harvey County Judge Marilyn Wilder told said Hawkins will never walk free again and remain a prisoner for life.

"He will never again choose what to wear, or what to eat, or what to do or where to go," she said.

Before the hearing concluded, Hawkins made his own statement.

"I don't expect any forgiveness. I don't expect any mercy. But with all my heart I'm sorry. I'm not sorry for the sentence I've been given, but I'm sorry for the pain and suffering I've caused the Runyon family as well as my own. If there is any day of my life I'd take back it would be that night. I'll keep the family in my prayers."

Along with Hawkins' plea agreement, the state chose not to seek the death penalty.