Derik Osborn sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in 2017

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A judge sentenced Derik Osborn to life in prison Friday afternoon in the 2017 death of Valerie Williams.

Osborn was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree domestic assault. Williams was 16 weeks pregnant at the time. Court records showed Williams died of head trauma after an incident inside their apartment.

“We’re so glad we don’t have to come back to this building,” Williams’ father Dan Buntin said. “We’ve got justice for our daughter.”

Both of Williams’ parents say this day doesn’t quite bring closure, but a sense of relief.

“This is day we didn’t think would ever come,” Williams’ mother Lisa Barnes said.  “It’s here and we got all we could get. Obviously never her and the baby but he got the full book thrown at him.”

“It’s relief that he’s off the streets,” Buntin said. “He’s been out of prison, not locked up for four and a half years walking the streets trying to be a good guy and we knew better.”

In March, court records say Osborn told police he and Williams got into an argument. Osborn said Williams tried to pepper spray him. He said he tried to take the pepper spray out of her hand, and Williams proceeded to fall.

“Nothing we say here today can change what happened and the events that lead to the death of Valerie and her unborn child,” Osborn’s attorney Stuart Huffman said. “I have spoken with Derik over the years and I have seen remorse. There’s been no indication or showing through the evidence and the doctors that his intent was to kill Valerie or the unborn child which is why we struggle at time with felony murder.”

Several people came to defend Osborn during the sentencing.

“Derik has the gift of a tremendous salesperson that brings out the best in people,” Osborn’s dad Mike Osborn said. “People are drawn to him.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Derik,” Prairie Chapel Pastor Jeff Fole said. “He’s been an active part of our congregation at Prairie Chapel. His kind gentle nature is just not what has been depicted. His true nature as a pastor would know. Little children run up to him. Little old ladies at church love to hug him. This world is a better place when Derik is participating in it freely.”

Ultimately, the judge disagreed with these notions.

“It gets down to how dangerous I think Mr. Osborn is,” Judge Calvin Holden said. “I know half of this courtroom thinks he’s no danger at all but all the evidence is that to a partner he’s very dangerous. It’s obvious he was pretty dangerous because he killed someone. He didn’t do it by strangulation necessarily. He did it but slamming them up against a wall and around like a ragdoll. He also knew that she was pregnant and had no concern for her pregnancy, his child. So I would say he’s pretty dangerous.”

Holden mentioned how several doctors said during the trial Williams’ injuries did not indicate she just fell and died. Court records also said the bruises on the back of Williams’ neck were consistent with a bruise from being struck by an object.

“The greatest aggravating factor here is the defendant’s refusal to acknowledge he was abusive and violent to Valerie and that he caused her death, and the death of her unborn child,” Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Johnson said. “There’s nothing in that report that indicates that the defendant is going to take any responsibility for what he did to Valerie and their unborn child. Instead, he describes the situation that happened to him. In his mind, he’s the victim here and all of this is happening to him.”

The two life sentences and another seven years for domestic assault will be served concurrently. The pain lingers with the Williams family.

“It’s every day that I deal with it,” Buntin said. “It’s been a rough four and a half years but we got our justice for our girl.”

Osborn’s attorney stated his client intends to appeal.

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