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Businessman, convicted killer William Landis in court for sentencing

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: May 15 2013 09:30:47 AM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2013 04:53:20 PM CDT

A Berks County businessman who shot and killed his wife nearly four years ago was ordered Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison.

READING, Pa. -

A Berks County businessman who shot and killed his wife nearly four years ago was ordered Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison.

During a bizarre hearing, William Landis professed his love for his wife and children before he learned his fate. All three of his kids testified, and said their dad does not belong in prison.

"He's never been a threat to society and he never will be," said Barbara Landis, the oldest of three kids, who are all sticking by their dad.

"I'm innocent. I'll find justice and I have bad attorneys," said Landis, as he was escorted into court.

The convicted killer was talkative on his way into the hearing, and he continued that once he went inside. The Spring Township, Berks Co., businessman spoke on the stand for more than an hour about his achievements. He complained about the pains of jail and described the relationship with his deceased wife, Sharon.

"I know he wanted to get the truth out there. He has been held back from having the truth," said William Landis III, Landis' son.

Despite the advice of his attorneys, the judge and even his family, who told him to stop talking for fear of losing the chance to appeal, Landis kept going. At one point, he fired his council and called the prosecutor a murderer.

"I find it funny Landis was more sorry for himself than for putting a bullet in his wife's head," said Jonathan Kurland, assistant district attorney.

In the end, he was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of shooting his wife in the head after an argument in October 2009.

"He did not do this intentionally, this was a self-defense case and unfortunately that did not get brought out," said Connie Landis, who proclaimed her dad's innocence.

During trial, Landis' attorneys argued William and Sharon were struggling over a gun.

On Wednesday, all three of his children defended their father. They painted him as their knight in shining armor and their mother as the aggressor.

"Anybody you talk to that he knows in the community would tell you he's just overall a very caring wonderful individual," said Barbara Landis.

"It's been very hard. First you lose your mother, and now we feel like we're losing our father for a crime he didn't commit," said William Landis III.

Landis is the owner of Landis Express, a trucking company in Muhlenberg Township. According to his kids, he plans to appeal.

"I'll get justice. Believe me, I'll get justice," said Landis.

Landis was also facing charges for a standoff with police on the night of the killing. Kurland withdrew those charges, but if Landis is granted an appeal, they can be reinstated.