Man sentenced to life for wife's death

Rodney Dale Ivey was sentenced to life in prison for his wife's murder.

Judge Michael Nettles sentenced Rodney Ivey to life in prison Friday after pleading guilty to killing his wife, Devin Ham Ivey

, last June.

Investigators say he became a suspect when he lied about Devin Ham Ivey's disappearance.

Police say

Ivey choked and killed his wife following an argument at a motel in Olanta.

"He choked her out until she went limp. He put her in the bed had his drug dealer come to the motel room and he did a tattoo on his drug dealer and his drug dealer touched her foot or leg or something and jumped and he says oh that's my wife, she's just passed out," said Solicitor Ed Clements.

Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements said Ivey then laid in bed with his wife's lifeless body until dawn.

Ivey reported her missing and volunteers searched the Olanta community for six days. They finally found her badly decomposed body wrapped in a sheet on Brown Road near Coward.

Ivey's family told the judge her body was so badly decomposed they had to have a closed casket funeral.

"We did not get to touch her. We didn't get to tell her goodbye. We did not get to give what every family deserves to give their child, a proper burial and a proper goodbye," said Gaye Vause.

Devin's mother pleaded for a harsh sentence.

"She had a lot going for her and he took it from her. And how he did her. He treated her like a dog. Your honor I ask that you give him the maximum cause he don't deserve to life because guess what his mother can go see him. I can't see my baby anymore," said Deborah Ham.

Rodney Ivey's family said he was an addict and if drugs hadn't been in the picture

his wife would be alive.

Judge Nettles said there were no winners and sentenced Ivey to life in prison.

Her family is relieved, but they'll never forget.

"As far as justice, there will be no ultimate justice because ultimate justice means we will have Devin back," said Gaye Vause.

The day Devin Ham Ivey was killed her family says she had packed her bags and was ready to move on to the next chapter in her life.

The couple had been married for less than a year.

The Ham family is planning a thank you celebration for law enforcement and the community at Bazen's Family Restaurant in Florence.