Man Gets 160 Years for Killing Family to Attend Prom

A judge sentenced a man Tuesday to 160 years in prison for killing his father, stepmother and two stepsisters so he could attend high school prom events in 1989.

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Roland Chamblee Jr. sentenced Jeffrey Pelley, 34, to four consecutive 40-year sentences in the shotgun slayings of his minister-father and the three others.

Pelley had faced a maximum sentence of 260 years in prison for the killings at the family's home in a parsonage adjacent to the Olive Branch Church of the United Brethren in Lakeville, about 10 miles south of South Bend.

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The shootings killed Pelley's father, the Rev. Robert Pelley; his stepmother, Dawn; and stepsisters, Janel, 8, and Jolene, 6.

Police said Pelley killed his family in April 1989 because he was mad that his father had grounded him just before the LaVille High School prom and an outing scheduled the next day at a Chicago-area amusement park.

After the family was killed, Pelley attended those events.

Pelley, who was living in Dade City, Fla., when he was arrested, was not charged in the deaths until August 2002, when authorities reinterpreted evidence. A St. Joseph County jury found Pelley guilty in the murders on July 21.

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