CHICAGO (WLS) --Convicted killer Reginald Potts was sentenced to life in prison in the 2007 death of ex-girlfriend Nailah Franklin.
"I know who you are. I checked out your resume. You are a cold, calculating, conniving coward of a con man who must be punished," Judge Thomas Gainer Jr. said Tuesday.
Franklin's family has waited for nine years for the sentencing. Her sister read a statement on behalf of their mother.
"Finally justice is served and the monster who took my daughter's life is sentenced," said Lhia Franklin Acox.
Judge Gainer referred to Potts' criminal history, demeanor and the seriousness of the offense during the sentencing.
"The defendant has been in continuous custody in his life from 1996 to the present," Gainer said.
Potts spoke out in his own defense for the first time Friday during his sentencing hearing. He did not testify during his murder trial, but he had plenty to say Friday, speaking for about 40 minutes. All week prosecutors have portrayed Potts as a cunning manipulator who grows angry and violent when his lies are uncovered. But Potts said he's the victim of a narrative that's untrue.
"I did not stalk Nailah. I did not murder Nailah. Period," Potts said.
Potts was convicted in November 2015. Prosecutors say he killed Franklin after she broke up with him. But on Friday he denied that Franklin was ever his girlfriend.
"I did not have any anger toward Nailah Franklin. I was not angry with her. I was not stalking her," he said.
Despite this denial, Judge Gainer on Tuesday said there was "no doubt" that they were in a relationship, citing an email Franklin had sent to Potts prior to her death.
During the five-day sentencing hearing, prosecutors called multiple witnesses who detailed a pattern of crime and violence by Potts directed at women and members of law enforcement. Potts grew emotional after speaking of his upbringing, growing up in a broken home but surrounded by loving family, at one point referencing Thursday's impact statement given by Franklin's mother.
Franklin was a 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative. She dated Potts but had cut off contact before the murder. In 2007, Franklin was missing for days and her family began a national search. Her body was found in a shallow grave in a Calumet City Forest Preserve. The Medical Examiner determined she had been asphyxiated.
During the trial, two woman testified about domestic abuse at the hands of Potts. He was also seen on video with Franklin the day she went missing.
"You didn't erase her, Mr. Potts. She lives on in the hearts and the minds of all these people," Judge Gainer said.
"Not one day goes by that I don't wish I could see her or talk to her just one more time," said Ashlee Allen, Franklin's sister. "To the greatest big sister in the world, Nailah Franklin, you will not be forgotten."