CHESTERTON, Ind. (WLS) -- A northwest Indiana man was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of a 23-year-old coworker.
Nicole Gland was stabbed to death in her car behind a Chesterton bar where the two worked in 2017. Her family said Thursday that justice has finally been done.
"It doesn't really provide any closure," said Matthew Gland, the victim's father. "We miss our daughter every day, more every day, but it's a step forward."
Christopher Dillard, 53, of Hobart, Indiana had been charged with first degree murder and robbery of the Portage, Indiana resident. Before handing down the maximum sentence, outraged Porter County Judge Jeffrey Clymer told Dillard: "Your actions were selfish. Your actions were cruel. Your actions were brutal."
After a nearly three-week-long trial, a jury found the bouncer guilty of the April 2017 slaying despite having a videotaped confession dillard made shortly after he was arrested thrown out by the Indiana appellate court. Prosecutors thanked law enforcement.
"The success of the case was attributable to the work that they did," said Gary Germann, a Porter County prosecutor.
Through emotional victims' impact statements, Nicole's best friend and others expressed their grief followed by the victim's mother and father.
Jessica Gland described her daughter as outgoing.
"We are left with the living nightmare of what happened that day," she said.
Sometimes shouting and fighting back tears, Matthew Gland clutched a smiling picture of his daughter and addressed the defendant directly.
"What do you say to the monster that murdered your daughter? This is supposed to be a healing process, but it's just another chapter in a horrible experience caused by you," he said.
Prosecutors say Dillard told police he had been using drugs for days when he stabbed Gland, who also worked at the former Upper Deck Lounge in Chesterton, after she rejected his sexual advances.
She was found dead in her SUV behind the bar and had been stabbed more than 20 times.
"Really the turning point in the case was the DNA showed that the defendant's DNA was in fact on the victim's body," said Armando Salinas, a deputy prosecutor in Porter County.
During the hearing, Dillard smiled at times, showing little remorse. His lawyer told the court: "Mr. Dillard maintains his innocence that he was not the perpetrator of this heinous crime."
Dillard said he plans to appeal, but it's little comfort to a family still struggling to heal.
"I miss her deeply and I will never get to see her again and that's what really sucks and I just hope no other sibling in the world has to go through that pain," said Nathaniel Gland, the victim's brother.