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Judge rules Gilley must serve minimum of 60 years in prison

After a two-day resentencing trial that recounted an abusive family and the night he bludgeoned his parents and sister to death with a baseball bat in 1984, convicted killer Billy Frank Gilley Jr. got some relief from a 90-year prison sentence Wednesday — but not much.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Ray White ruled that Gilley could serve the two life sentences handed down for the death of his parents concurrently but would have to serve another 30-year-minimum life sentence for the beating death of his youngest sister.

District Attorney Mark Huddleston said he was "satisfied" with White's decision.

"Mr. Gilley's new sentence means he must serve a minimum of 60 years in prison, beginning from the first day he was incarcerated 24 years ago," said Huddleston.

White said he was sorry Gilley had suffered from parental abuse. But Gilley is not a likely candidate for rehabilitation based on a lifelong pattern of bad judgment and illegal acts, he said.

Gilley's juvenile crimes included arson, theft and assault. He has been diagnosed with "a sociopathic personality," White said.

"(Gilley) poses a danger to himself and others," White said, adding Gilley had demonstrated little remorse for his actions, particularly for the killing of his sister Becky.

Gilley will appeal White's decision, said his defense attorney, Paul Beneke. White's earlier ruling that denied Gilley the right to a jury trial for the resentencing would be the basis for the appeal, he said.

Earlier in the day, Gilley gave a statement to the court absolving his surviving sister, Jody Arlington, of responsibility for the crimes, and stating he'd trade his life for that of his family if he could.

"I didn't have the right to take a life," said Gilley.

— Sanne Specht