Three people were sentenced to prison Monday in the fatal shooting of a Colorado Springs woman in front of her son, including a 20-year-old woman described as a "catalyst" in what a judge called a senseless crime.
"When you can't even define why it happened, it makes it all the more upsetting," 4th Judicial District Judge G. David Miller said while ordering the trio, including Shayanna Breann Burton, to lengthy terms.
Burton, 20, was among those linked to the June 1, 2016, killing of Courtney Beaudette, 29, who was shot at point-blank range in front of her 5-year-old son when three armed men barged into her apartment demanding cash. The shooting occurred at the Shannon Glenn Apartments, 230 N. Murray Blvd.
Authorities say Beaudette's son ran into his bedroom and retrieved a $1 bill in hopes of saving her - only to be "splashed" with his mother's blood when one of the robbers shot her in the head at close range.
Initially charged with first-degree murder, Burton pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree burglary and was sentenced to 24 years under a plea agreement - sparking Beaudette's mother to charge that she got away with murder.
Ryan Michael Brown was sentenced to 44 years and Dylan Peters to 55 years, the maximum they faced under plea agreements. Both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder under deals that tossed first-degree murder charges.
Matthew Robert Moore - identified by Brown and Peters as the shooter - was sentenced in July to 60 years in prison.
Authorities described a drug-addled robbery attempt, but the question of why Beaudette's apartment was targeted remains hazy.
Burton, who authorities say directed the would-be robbers to Beaudette's residence, claimed she had been assaulted by a man staying there, but the judge rejected much of her account Monday, saying she wasn't credible. Brown said they wanted to retrieve a pair of pants that had been stolen from Burton, though Burton on Monday said that wasn't true.
The plan didn't call for violence, but the crime turned deadly when Beaudette refused an order to take off her clothes, Brown said previously.
"She kept screaming, and that's when he just opened fire," Brown told the judge at a prior hearing.
The sentencings marked the end of the murder prosecutions in the case, which prosecutor Jennifer Viehman called one of the most difficult in her career.
Beaudette's son is believed to be living with family members.