HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Maryland judge has ordered life imprisonment for a homeless heroin addict who fatally shot a woman who had given him shelter but threatened to expose him for stealing about $350 from two businesses.

The judge in Hagerstown also recommended Wednesday that 27-year-old Anthony Minnick be referred to a state prison agency treatment center, the Patuxent Institution, which could recommend him for release if he completes a treatment program that typically ranges from five to seven years.

The sentence capped a crowded and emotional, 90-minute hearing in which Minnick’s family members and pastors portrayed him as a good-hearted man gripped by a terrible addiction.

He pleaded guilty in December to first-degree murder for shooting 55-year-old Sonya Smith and stealing items from the home she was house-sitting for her absent boyfriend.

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