"I hope he would be sorry and remorseful..." family members react Don Featherstone sentencing

Don Featherstone has learned his fate after entering a guilty plea in connection with the murder of a Terre Haute DJ.

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 3:50 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2018 10:46 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Don Featherstone has learned his fate after entering a guilty plea in connection with the murder of a Terre Haute DJ.

Featherstone has received 50 years for the murder of Matt Luecking.

That sentence is the maximum in the plea agreement.

Kathleen Featherstone and John Collins also pleaded guilty to the murder of Luecking. She will serve 30 years in prison while Collins has 60 years.

The local radio host was murdered in his apartment in October 2016. The judge describes that crime as one of the most brutal he's ever seen.

Wednesday's hearing was emotional as Matt Luecking's brother, Eric, took the stand to address Featherstone and the court.

Luecking started his statement off with a video tribute and pictures. Pictures included a smiling Matt with family, friends and at work, then to his headstone and a photo of his body in a casket.

"I wanted to show a picture of the gravestone and of Matt to show to Mr. Featherstone that this was the end result," he said, "You may not have been the one who committed the physical act of murder, but it was your idea to go into the apartment that night and to have something done against him."

"I just thought having a picture of Matt would really drive that point home," Luecking continued, "As I said in the introduction of that particular photo, Matt was laying on a pillow with his eyes closed the last time Mr. Featherstone was in his presence, when Matt was alive he was doing the same thing in that photo."

The prosecution described Featherstone as the "mastermind" behind Luecking's murder in October 2016. Prosecution pointed to evidence of Featherstone being "obsessed" with Matt Luecking and his relationship with Featherstone's ex-girlfriend.

In Eric Luecking's impact statement, he mentioned that Matt had plans to propose to his girlfriend. Paperwork for an engagement ring was found by Matt's girlfriend in his apartment after his death.

"I would constantly give Matt reminders that his younger brother got married before him," Eric Luecking said, "and I'm happy for him that he felt that strongly about someone, and to be thinking about taking those next steps, of course, it's heartbreaking that that didn't end up happening."

A tearful Featherstone addressed the Luecking family and the courtroom shortly after Eric Luecking's impact statement.

Featherstone started by saying he was sorry, and words were inadequate to express his remorse. He went on to say taking a plea agreement and avoiding trial was the only way he could express his remorse.

The defense stated during sentencing that Featherstone was hospitalized after the incident, as he tried to take his own life in remorse.

Eric Luecking told News 10 he's forgiven Featherstone and he hopes he will learn from the choices he made.

"I hope he would be sorry and remorseful, obviously it's not something he can take back, what happened to Matt," he said, "I don't wish bad things upon anybody, even if they've done bad things to other people. I hope he's able to learn from this, to move forward, and become a better person and to not let that night be the defining point of his life."

As for the future, the Luecking family says they are preparing for developments in the case of a 4th defendant, Ben Selig. Luecking says Selig was involved in his brother's murder after the fact.

Previous News 10 reports stated Selig was charged with Assisting a Criminal.

In the meantime, Luecking says he and his family are no longer focusing on the pain and heartache, but the joy that Matt brought into their lives.

"He was just the greatest brother that I've ever dreamed to have had, and I had, for 38 years, that's pretty awesome stuff," he said, "As Matt would say, 'Blessed for another day', he used that a lot on social media and we're all blessed to have another day."

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