Apache man sentenced for murder, victim's family speaks

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An Apache man convicted of murder has been sentenced for his crimes.

Joshua Codynah was sentenced to life in prison for the 2016 murder of Michael Mithlo. He was sentenced to another 15 years for assault and battery in the case. Those terms will run consecutively. He was also sentenced to 20 years for child neglect and another 20 for burglary, though those sentences were suspended.

The courtroom was packed for Wednesday's sentencing and it was extremely emotional. Several family members of Mithlo's testified about how his loss has impacted their lives and asked for the toughest possible sentence.

Michael Mithlo's stepmother said no one can possibly know the pain her family is going through unless they themselves have lost a child.

"I watch my husband cry every day because of this horrible person that I can't call a man, took our baby. I watch his mother, his sister, his aunts, uncles. He was a traditional, religious man and his life was taken in a flash," said Barbara Mithlo.

Michael's aunt said they have a family cemetery, where her grandparents, aunts and uncles were all laid to rest. She said all of them were able to live full lives, which is a privilege Michael did not receive.

"He had such a bright light, he was our best man for any job you could imagine, whether it was helping his grandfather on the farm, helping with our songs and our traditional ways, creating things, films. He was a leader in our community," said Nancy Marie Mithlo.

During testimony today, Michael's father said that words could not describe the void and emptiness that he has felt since Michael was killed. Codynah was sentenced to life in prison but will have the possibility of parole after serving 85-percent of his sentence.

"This life sentence is nothing, nothing at all. What is it, 40 years? You took away a life that could live to be 80. His grandfather lived to be 106. So, you see how much time is going to be lost. That's what we have to think about. People don't think about that in the long run. It depends on how you live, what's going on in your life. And 40 years is nothing," said Bill Mithlo, who is Michael's grandpa.

Codynah also took the stand Wednesday and apologized to Mithlo's family. He will be eligible for parole in 2068.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.