The Springfield man who pleaded guilty in July to the murder of Abby Neisler in early 2020 was sentenced to 130 years in prison on Wednesday before Chief Justice John Madonia of the Sangamon County Court.
Before Ronald D. Porter received his sentence, the courtroom heard a moving plea from Neisler’s father, Jerry Neisler of Pawnee, who called her a “beautiful soul” who should be remembered for the way. “she lived, not the way she died”.
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Porter, 33, must serve his full 55-year sentence for first degree murder. Porter was sentenced to 30 years for aggravated criminal sexual assault, 15 years for home invasion and armed robbery, 10 years for residential arson and five years for cover-up murder.
Porter admitted to stabbing Neisler, 24, and setting his residence on fire in the 700 block of South State Street on January 11, 2020.
Porter will also serve concurrent sentences on charges of aggravated stalking, criminal harassment, aggravated animal cruelty, obstruction of justice and illegal use of a credit card.
In total, Porter pleaded guilty to 13 counts on July 21, although he hesitated at first, professing his frustration at not having his case uncovered with his defense attorney, Michael Harmon.
Jerry Neisler remembered his daughter as a carefree spirit who always rode the most daring rides during family vacations.
But she also stood up for everyone, said Neisler, “gay and straight, young and old, black or white, and the rich and the poor.” She didn’t care where they came from, but that they deserved a fair chance, that they deserved to be loved. She always said âLove is loveâ, and she lived it, she believed it.
âAt 24, it was a life that was too short, but it was a life well lived,â he said.
About 40 family and friends in the courtroom all wore purple, Abby’s favorite color. Sangamon County State Attorney Dan Wright and First Assistant Derek Dion both wore purple ties.
Neisler was a graduate of Pawnee High School and a sales associate at Aldi.
According to the minutes read during Porter’s July 21 appearance, Porter entered Neisler’s home while she was away on January 10, 2020. Upon returning home, Porter sexually assaulted her and after immobilizing her , stabbed her 35 to 40 times. He then set Neisler’s room on fire to cover up the crime.
Porter was also responsible for the death of Neisler’s dog, Pepper.
Earlier in Wednesday’s hearing, four Springfield Police detectives described Porter’s previous cases dating back to 2008.
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Porter was arrested by Springfield police on February 4, 2020, for a series of robberies in January and February.
Porter and his wife, Whitney Porter, were charged with residential arson, arson, insurance fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with a deliberate fire started in their apartment in October 2019 to obtain money from a fraudulent insurance claim.
Wright said Jerry Neisler provided “an incredibly impactful description of the light (Abby) in the lives of everyone who knew her.”
Wright said the Springfield police diligence turned a closed case “into an investigation which resulted in the accused’s guilty plea on all charges and a sentence guaranteeing that he will likely die in prison.”
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.