Danny Heinrich was sentenced in Minnesota to 20 years in federal prison yesterday for one count of receiving child pornography after he confessed to killing Jacob Wetterling, 11, in 1989, in a case that made headlines nationally, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Under a plea agreement approved by Wetterling’s parents, Heinrich admitted Jacob’s kidnapping, sexual assault and shooting and agreed to lead authorities to the boy’s body. In return, Heinrich will not be prosecuted for murder, and 24 other counts of pornography have been dropped.
For nearly 45 minutes yesterday, Heinrich’s victims approached a courtroom podium and spoke of the sorrow, anguish, and pain he inflicted on them. When Heinrich, 53, was arrested in 2015 on charges of child pornography, law enforcement officials called him a “person of interest” in Jacob’s kidnapping. In court yesterday, Jacob’s mother, Patty, cried as she described the “magnitude of pain” Heinrich inflicted on her and her family “every day of their lives.”