A former McDonald's worker was sentenced to 19 years in jail Wednesday for bludgeoning a customer to death using a statue of the Virgin Mary and a tin of mangoes at the latter's home in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005.
Elia Abdelmessih, 69, was found dead at his home in 2005 with a number of blood-stained items including the statue and the tin surrounding him. His killer, Katia Pyliotis, now 37, moved to South Australia post the crime and her identity remained a mystery for almost 11 years until she was involved in a minor crime incident, during which her DNA was taken and it matched with the DNA taken from Abdelmessih's home when he was killed.
Before his death, Abdelmessih, a widower, was a regular customer at the McDonald's outlet where Pyliotis worked and showed "over-friendly behavior" toward the staff. However, there was no evidence to prove that the two had any interaction that was "out of the ordinary." The motive behind the attack remained unclear, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Describing the attack as "brutal and sustained," Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said, "Although there was a frenzied attack on Mr Abdelmessih, which ranged over a number of parts of the house, that attack was not premeditated and it is likely to have been triggered by some event, the nature of which cannot be established."
Pyliotis was extradited to Victoria in 2016 and jailed. She, however, continued to deny her role in the murder despite admitting to her mother during a phone call from the prison of being present at Abdelmessih's house the day he was murdered.
Justice Coghlan said Pyliotis has a major depressive disorder and was also subjected to assault several times in the prison.
"You are to a large degree, an atypical person to be in prison. You have been assaulted several times, you are isolated and purport you are targeted because you're different," he said during the sentencing.
Pyliotis was sentenced to serve a minimum of 15 years and six months in prison to be eligible for release on parole.
Calling the wait for justice "exhaustive," Abdelmessih's goddaughter Susan Ayad said the sentence was not enough.
"He's a father to me, father to my children, so we miss him greatly. I know they've [Victoria Police] done hard work and she's been punished for what she's done but I just don't feel it was enough. And not knowing what the motive is, why, what happened, what was she doing at his property, all unanswered," she said.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.