Emotional day at the Westchester County Courthouse today, as Kasem Cunningham (left) is sentenced for fatally stabbing a pregnant woman 65 times during a home invasion.
Half the courtroom was filled with family, friends and supporters of victim Denisha McDuffy, who was two months pregnant when she was murdered. Cunningham offered no explanation for the brutal attack, but told county probation officers interviewing him for a pre-sentencing report that he was angry with his girlfriend who he suspected of cheating on him, and took out his anger on McDuffy.
The victim’s family, as well as prosecutors, urged the judge to give Cunningham the maximum sentence — life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. The judge, who had considered a 25-to-life sentence after Cunningham pleaded guilty, handed down the harsher sentence after reading reports from a psychologist and social worker, hearing victim impact statements from the woman’s family, and listening to Cunningham himself.
“The deliberate, intentional and brutal actions of this defendant began as a burglary and ended with the senseless and tragic death of an innocent young woman,” District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a written statement. “Now this man will, rightfully, spend the rest of his life in prison. Excellent police work, analysis of the forensic evidence by the lab and the work of the Assistant District Attorneys assigned to this case brought this defendant to justice. He will now serve the maximum sentence which hopefully will provide a measure of comfort to the victim’s family.”