LARGO — For killing his mother, Kevin Kyne could have gotten as little as 24 years or as much as life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley chose the life sentence.
"Kevin probably is otherwise a good kid who snapped and committed what unfortunately is one of the ultimate crimes in our society," Ley said.
Kyne's stepfather, William Kyne, was pleased with the sentence. “Diane Kyne was a big part, as a matter of fact, she was my life for the last 12 years," he told the judge. "Kevin has taken that life away from me."
Diane Kyne, 49, was killed in her Seminole house in August 2010 while both her son and husband were home.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office arrested Kevin, but defense attorneys suggested the real killer might have been William, who collected a $500,000 insurance policy.
But a jury last week found Kevin Kyne, 25, guilty of second-degree murder. Jurors believed prosecutors, who said Kevin Kyne killed his mother, either by strangling or smothering her, because she planned to kick him out of the house.
At the sentencing hearing Thursday, Kevin Kyne's aunt and grandmother said he was a bright and respectful young man who loved his mother, but suffered in a sometimes chaotic home environment.
Kyne's grandmother, Phyllis Karakash, said Kevin was always respectful and well-behaved while growing up. "I just can't see that he could do this," she said.
His aunt, Joni Morton, said she didn't think there was enough evidence presented at trial to convict her nephew.
Ley acknowledged Kyne may have felt the pressures of a family suffering "a lot of stress."
"It's too bad the environment wasn't different, but that doesn't excuse taking the life of a parent," she said.
Kyne showed no emotion as he was sentenced.
The sentencing was emotional for William Kyne, but not as bad as portions of the trial, in which he was all but accused of the murder himself.
"Today was just putting a period on the entire episode," he said.