CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A woman was left frustrated Thursday after learning her sister's killer will only spend less than a year behind bars.
Alton Morton pleaded guilty in a courtroom to beating his wife, Heidi Morton, to death.
This isn't the first time Morton has taken a plea deal for domestic violence charges.
“I can't bring my sister back,” Morton’s sister, Holly Owens, said.
Morton was 35 years old when she was killed in her home in July. Her husband, Alton, admitted hitting her in the head two times during one of their many drunken fights, which prosecutors said is not murder.
“The DA says this is involuntary manslaughter,” Owens said. “He didn't mean to kill her. You have got to be kidding me."
Morton could spend 11 months in prison.
“Heidi's worth more than 11 to 14 months,” Owens said.
Morton's attorney said under the circumstances, that was the most prosecutors could ask for.
“That is the law,” defense attorney Dean Loven said.
Prosecutor Jay Ashendorf agreed.
"Our office is passionate about domestic violence,” Ashendorf said. “Unfortunately, sometimes the evidence just doesn't support a higher conviction.”
Owens is now raising Morton’s 2-year-old daughter, Lily.
“I want to know that Lily is protected,” Owens said. “I want to know that she has the life that Heidi wanted her to have. She needs to have a chance.”
At least six of Charlotte's 19 homicides this year have been a result of domestic violence.
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