[updated with comments from Carolyn Levine and Tom Thurman]
Following today's hearing and what appeared to be the end of this sordid saga that has gripped the attention of West Nashville, both District Attorney Tom Thurman and Janet Levine March's mother Carolyn Levine offered their comments on the close to a struggle that has stretched out over the last decade.
"I don't feel happy," said Carolyn Levine. "We're very pleased with the verdict but I'm also feeling very sad." She went on to say that she was sorry that she had not noticed her former son-in-law's "dark side" sooner. Closing her statement to reporters following the hearing, she thanked the media for respecting her family's privacy through this whole affair.
After the Levines made their way to the elevators, Thurman spoke with reporters and again asserted that "this was a total team effort by the police department and the DA's office." He pointed out that state charges against Arthur March would be dropped as a result of his testimony against his son.
Other media questions for the district attorney were fairly tame, one key example being a question regarding whether or not Thurman believed that Perry March finally realizes that he cannot get away with the crime. Thurman thought for a moment and replied simply: "I hope he does. If he doesn't, then I don't know what it's going to take." Thurman went on to detail how 36 jurors in three separate trials have heard the facts of the cases and have found March guilty across the board.
Following today's hearing, and barring a success on appeal that would be stunning should it come to pass, Perry March can look forward to being in his seventies before he is eligible for parole. And should he serve the full sentence, he will be just a shade over 100 years old when he gets out of jail.
As originally published:
Perry March most likely will spend the rest of his life in prison. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier today sentenced the former Nashville attorney to a total of 56 years in prison for murdering his wife Janet, conspiring to kill her parents Lawrence and Carolyn Levine, and stealing money from Larry Levine's law firm.
March, dressed in yellow jail overalls rather than the business garb he wore during his three trials before Dozier this year, showed no reaction as the judge pronounced sentences of five years for theft, 24 years for conspiracy and 32 years total for second-degree murder. The conspiracy and murder sentences run consecutively. The theft years run concurrent to the other penalties. March, who is 45 years old, did not address the court.
The Levines did not testify. The parents, as well as their son Mark Levine, issued victim impact statements to the court in lieu of testimony. The statements highlighted their sufferings in the decade since Janet March went missing at a time when she and her husband were experiencing marital difficulties.
Defense attorney Bill Massey objected to numerous parts of the impact statements. Massey argued that the statements included "inappropriate" statements about Perry March, such as Mark Levine's rhetorical question: "Who can doubt Perry March is a sociopath?"
Dozier ruled that some of the statements could be excluded from consideration in the sentencing process. However, the sentence he then pronounced made clear that the exclusion of those statements made little difference to the outcome.