A Woodbury County judge sentenced a Sioux City man to over seven decades in prison on a second-degree murder and attempted murder charge Thursday. Twenty-three-year-old James Kroll was sentenced to a combined 75 years in prison for the June 13th crowbar beatings that claimed the life of Jeffrey Morales and seriously injured Mary Tope at her home.

Morales’s brother and his two daughters each read emotional statements about how Morales’s death and Tope’s injuries have devastated their family. Kroll sat quietly staring ahead at that time and then read his own statement prior to the sentencing. Kroll says he has felt terrible every day about the pain and suffering he has caused and hates himself and prays every day.

He blamed side effects of prozac and being high on K-2 when he went to Tope’s home to see her daughter Emily. Kroll says he felt suicidal and wanted to see her before taking his own life. Instead he took Moravek’s life. Kroll must serve at least 52-and-half years in prison before he is eligible for parole under a plea agreement.

By Tom Beightol, KSCJ, Sioux City