Sean Pettus

A former Powell man was sentenced to life imprisonment Friday in Goshen County District Court.

Sean Pettus, 32, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after he had his no contest plea to second degree murder accepted by Goshen County District Court Judge Patrick Korell.

That plea was drawn into question when Pettus claimed he had not been given proper counsel before pleading no contest to the murder of Madison Cook, 20, in Torrington in April. He submitted a request to withdraw his plea, but Korell denied the request to start Friday’s hearing.

“The record clearly reflects the original plea was voluntarily made,” Korell said.

Prior to the hearing, Torrington Police submitted evidence of Pettus talking to an “admirer” about the case over a jail phone call Oct. 21. In that call, Pettus can be heard saying it “might be hard” to prove he was not offered proper counsel because his attorney had advised him against taking the no contest plea he agreed to on Aug. 23, a complete contradiction to what he claimed to the court less than two weeks earlier when he requested to withdraw his plea. 

Three of Cook’s family members spoke on her behalf at the hearing.

“I hope you live with this the rest of your life while you rot to death in prison,” said Autumn Cook, Madison’s sister, calling Pettus  a “monster.”

According to Torrington Police, officers found Cook’s body in her home wrapped in a blanket placed between the bed mattress and the bedroom wall. She had received six stab wounds and blunt force trauma to her right eye.

Pettus also pleaded guilty to arson, two counts of burglary and auto theft, to which he will serve consecutive sentences. Korell sentenced him to 29-50 years in prison for those crimes.

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