(WJBK) - The man found guilty in the murder of Chelsea Bruck was sentenced to life without parole Thursday.
Daniel Clay was found guilty of felony murder and concealing a dead body on May 16. He received life without parole for the murder charged and 40 to 60 months for concealing the body.
Clay had been charged with open murder, which means the jury decided the appropriate degree of murder based on evidence. The jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder, but guilty of felony murder.
The case involves the murder of 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck, who was last seen at a Halloween Party on Oct. 25, 2014 on Post Road in Monroe County's Frenchtown Township.
A few days later, she was reported missing and local officials began holding press conferences to ask the public's help finding her.
The case went cold until April 5, 2015, when her body was found near Briar Hill Road in Ash Township.The Wayne County Medical Examiner confirmed Chelsea died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Police arrested Daniel Clay, who was seen with Chelsea at that Halloween Party, in July 2016 and he was charged with second-degree murder. Clay's trial began May 8, 2017. He testified on his on behalf, saying he accidentally choked Bruck to death during sex. But forensic experts say Bruck had injuries consistent with a violent attack.
About a week later, Clay was found guilty of felony murder and concealing a body.
Chelsea's mother had a chance to speak at a press conference following the sentence. She spoke on her faith, and the overwhelming support her family has received from the community.
"They're here for us - all of our first responders," she said. "It's not just a job to them, it's a commitment and we need to thank them, even if we just see them out and about in the community."
She was asked if she believes the people at that Halloween party could've done something to stop the crime.
Leeanda wondered aloud if no one had seen her Chelsea get picked up by Clay, as he described while testifying in court. She said there was a lot of people leaving the party, so why didn't anyone say anything?
"There's good and bad in everything unfortunately," she said.
She says she's been asked if things are returning to normal, but says she doesn't know what normal is anymore.
And to young people going to parties in the future:
"Don't go alone, but stay with those that you go with," she said.
Below is an interactive map that walks you through the case, starting from the day Chelsea went missing to the first day of Clay's trial:
- May 16, 2017: Daniel Clay found guilty of felony murder in Chelsea Bruck death
- May 16, 2017: Daniel Clay testifies Chelsea Bruck death was rough sex accident
- May 9, 2017: Defense claims Chelsea Bruck died of erotic asphyxiation as trial begins
- May 8, 2017: Trial for Chelsea Bruck murder suspect underway
- Nov. 2, 2016: Graphic testimony in hearing for man accused of killing Chelsea Bruck
- Nov. 2, 2016: Daniel Clay bound over for trial in Chelsa Bruck murder
- Aug. 8, 2016: Chelsea Bruck murder suspect now charged with rape in separate incident
- July 27, 2016: Prosecutor: DNA links man to Chelsea Bruck in Halloween party death
- July 25, 2016: Daniel Clay had problems with law long before Chelsea Bruck's death
- July 25, 2016: Medical Examiner: Chelsea Bruck died of blunt force trauma
- July 25, 2016: Man charged with murder in Chelsea Bruck death
- July 22, 2016: 27-year-old Newport man arrested in murder of Chelsea Bruck
- July 22, 2016: Monroe Co Sheriff to hold press conference on Chelsea Bruck murder
- June 9, 2016: Police question possible witness in Chelsea Bruck murder
- June 9, 2016: Possible witness in Chelsea Bruck murder has come forward