Former soldier receives maximum sentence in 2016 homicide

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (4/28/17) : A former solider has been ordered the maximum sentence for the 2016 murder of 29-year-old Kyle Sullivan.

Daniel Newell (Credit: CSPD)

Daniel Newell, 25, appeared in court Friday morning for his sentencing after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery in January.

Prior to the sentencing, friends and family members, including Sullivan's mom, gave statements. They relayed how caring Sullivan was and said, "He was just a carefree soul and couldn't hurt anyone." They also called him a "kind and gentle spirit."

The prosecution team discussed how Newell fled to California following the murder and showed no signs of remorse. They pointed out how Newell never referred to Sullivan by his name and only, "the guy." They asked for the maximum sentence of 60 years, plus two more for having a weapon in jail.

Attorneys from the defense detailed Newell's childhood trauma, citing his sister's father was killed in front of him. They also stated his mother used drugs and he ended up living in foster care. The team also brought up his PTSD from his time in the military. They asked the judge for the minimum sentence of 45 years plus an addition two for the weapon.

The judge then sentenced Newell to 62 years. He received 48 years for second-degree murder and an addition 12 for first-degree robbery, plus two more years for the weapon.

During the sentencing, the judge cited Newell's horrific acts during the murder. She cited that Newell entered the home when Sullivan was sleeping, then beat him up along with his accomplice. She then cited that Newell chose to slit Sullivan's throat after he was already unconscious.

In February, his accomplice, Michael Durante, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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UPDATE (1/27/17) : The suspect in the first Colorado Springs murder of 2016 accepted a plea agreement Friday. Daniel Newell pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree burglary in the death of Kyle Sullivan.

Newell will be sentenced April 28th. He faces 45 to 60 years in jail.

His co-defendant, Michael Durante, will head to trial for first-degree murder and first-degree burglary charges on Feb. 6. During a hearing in August, our partners at The Gazette say Durante knocked Sullivan unconscious, while Newell allegedly cut his throat.
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PREVIOUS (5/13/16) : The suspect in 2016's first murder was arrested in California.

Police had been looking for 29-year-old Kyle Sullivan's killer for almost a month. Sullivan was found stabbed to death inside a home on North 7th Street, just west of downtown Colorado Springs.

Before the April 15 homicide, the Springs had gone more three months without a killing.

The Colorado Springs Police Department issued a warrant for Daniel Newell's arrest on May 4. Police said they knew Newell had ties to New Mexico and California, and warned the public he was armed and dangerous.

Newell was arrested Thursday in Stockton, California. He faces charges of first-degree murder.