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Man gets 20-40 years in murder of Red Lion-area girlfriend

  • Michael Morant, 49, pleaded guilty to the third-degree murder of his girlfriend, Rebekah Strausbaugh.
  • Morant was sentenced to 20-40 years in prison.

Ruth Craver spoke through tears in court while she addressed Michael Morant, the man who murdered her daughter more than a year ago.

"He ruined my family — we will never be complete again," she said.

Michael Morant

Morant, 49, killed his girlfriend, Rebekah "Becky" Strausbaugh, 30, in their Windsor Township home sometime between June 24 and June 27, 2016, according to police.

He took her body to Sparks, Baltimore County, where she was found near Interstate 83 on June 27, 2016, police have said.

More:Murder charges filed in strangling of Windsor Twp. woman

More:Man faces trial in slaying of Red Lion-area girlfriend

More:Windsor woman's homicide case moved to York County

On Monday, Oct. 23, Morant pleaded guilty to third-degree murder.

Common Pleas Judge Craig Trebilcock sentenced Morant to the maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.

"You can choose to be a different person going forward, and I hope you make the right choice," the judge told Morant.

Morant: Morant told Trebilcock that he and Strausbaugh had been arguing and the argument escalated, which led to him strangling her.

"We just had words, and the emotions just got the best of me," he said.

He asked for forgiveness from Strausbaugh's family.

"This is not really who I am," he said.

The defense brought Morant's pastor, the Rev. Roland Forbes, to speak. Forbes said Morant's family was affected by their son's actions.

Rebekah Strausbaugh

"This is not the Michael they raised," he said.

Morant initially was charged in Maryland with Strausbaugh's homicide, but the case was moved to York County Court in April.

Chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday has said that decision was made jointly between the York County District Attorney's Office and the Maryland State Attorney's Office.

More:Life sentence for 'selfish coward' York City murderer

'Ruined family': During Morant's hearing, Strausbaugh's parents, Ruth Craver and Fred Craver, spoke.

Her parents, alongside many of her family and friends, were wearing T-shirts that said "Team Craver-Strausbaugh" on the back.

Ruth Craver said Strausbaugh was a mother of two boys, and she will never see them grow older. She said her daughter was her children's biggest cheerleader.

"She was that kind of person that was so much fun to be around," she said.

Her father recalled having a heart attack and going into a coma a few years before his daughter's death. He remember waking up from the coma, not knowing where he was or what was going on. 

Strausbaugh was there holding his hand.

"It was Becky, she said 'Hi, Dad," he said. "I cry every time I think of it."

Fred Craver expressed guilt, saying he told her to stay in her home when she was thinking of moving out.

"I talked her into staying, because financially she couldn't do it on her own," he said, adding that he also didn't want his grandsons to have to go to another school and start all over again.

Ruth Craver said she asked her grandsons if they'd like to attend Morant's hearing, and they declined.

"They never want to see him again," Ruth Craver said.

She ended with one last thought about her daughter's death.

"Why couldn't he have walked away?" 

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.