LI man who murdered wife gets 18 to life

June 23, 2010 2:53:22 PM PDT
A Long Island man learned his punishment on Wednesday for murdering his wife.

William Walsh was sentenced to 18-years to life for strangling his wife and dumping her body along the Long Island Expressway.

Walsh left the courthouse on Wednesday and never looked back, leaving his in-laws to wonder just how sorry he really is.

"Her violent and brutal murder is the ultimate betrayal of his wedding vows," Leah's father, Howard Hirschel, said. "It gives new meaning to the words, 'till death do us part.' His words and actions were cruel and cold. Every word and action was so vile and despicable that it should offend every member of the human race."

"He is a cancer that should be permanently excised from society and should never see the light of day as a free man," brother Josh Hirschel said.

Leah Walsh was murdered in October of 2008. She was strangled and mutilated by her husband whose questionable performance before the television cameras made him a suspect from the very beginning.

The evidence in the case was undeniable.

Walsh later confessed and pleaded guilty.

In court Wednesday, Walsh said, "I will never be able to express how truly sorry I am for the pain I have caused. If there was any way to change places with her, I would."

"It is my firm belief you should never, and it is my hope that you will never, draw a free breath ever again," Judge David Ayres said.

Walsh will be eligible for release after serving 18 years in prison, at the relatively-young age of 48.

His wife's family says they will attend every one of his parole hearings, as they are determined to keep him in jail for the rest of his life.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in the early morning hours of October 26, 2008, Walsh choked his wife to death during an argument in their bedroom. He then covered her with black trash bags and spent the rest of the morning at the gym. At around 10 p.m. that evening, Walsh took his wife's body and put her in the passenger seat of her Ford Focus and drove to a wooded area off the Long Island Expressway, where he dumped her body. He then parked and abandoned her car on the side of the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway near the Plainview Road exit.

During the next few days, Walsh made public pleas for information on his wife's disappearance in the media. He also faked text messages from her cell phone to himself, including one telling him "have a great day." He was arrested on October 29 when Leah's body was discovered off the North Service Road to the LIE in North Hills.