Teen who killed half sister sentenced to up to 100 years

McKenna Hilton, Savon Schmus
Savon Schmus listens to a statement from Stacey Hilton, the mother of the woman he killed, before he is sentenced on Oct. 30, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Stacey Hilton didn’t hold back when she had a moment in court to address the man who took her daughter’s life.

McKenna Hilton, 18, was strangled to death in Grand Rapids last year. Her body was left alongside a road, where passersby came upon it. Hilton’s half brother Savon Schmus, 17, admitted to the killing as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

On Monday, he was sentenced to between 40 and 100 years in prison.

“I hate you. I will never forgive you,” Stacey Hilton said in court as she wiped tears from her face with a tissue. “I hope that when you come out of prison, it’s not on your two feet. I hope it’s in a body bag.”

Schmus held his head down but showed no obvious emotion as three people, including Stacey Hilton, made victim impact statements to the court. Given the chance to speak, Schmus opted not to, though his attorney told the judge the young man is remorseful.

Schmus’ and McKenna Hilton’s father, David Schmus, addressed the court briefly as well. He simply read a Bible verse from the book of Corinthians about the endurance of love. He wept as the judge pronounced his son’s lengthy prison term.

Judge George Quist called the case the worse he’s seen when pronouncing the harshest sentence he could give under the guidelines of the plea agreement.

Several of McKenna Hilton’s loved ones carried large photos of the victim in court. Some of them wore tie-dyed shirts and wore buttons and ribbons as a show of support.

McKenna Hilton
Photos: McKenna Hilton’s family shows photos of her as they speak to reporters on Oct. 30, 2017. Stacey Hilton stands at center.

Stacey Hilton said she was relieved to put the sentencing behind her but stopped short of calling it justice for her daughter.

“I’m glad this part is over,” she said while speaking to reporters following the sentencing hearing. “There isn’t really any justice for McKenna because no matter what happens, McKenna’s not coming back.”