OLATHE, Kan. — On Friday, a Johnson County judge ordered a Kansas City, Kansas, man to spend life in prison for the murder of his 23-year-old girlfriend, who was pregnant with the couple’s child.

Devonte Wash, 30, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. No one in that Johnson County courtroom seemed surprised by his sentence on Friday morning.

Family members of Ashley Harlan said Wash is getting what he deserves and that a long trend of domestic and mental abuse ended with her January 2018 death.

“We’ve waited four and a half years to get to this day,” Nikki Chapman, one of Harlan’s aunts, said. 

This murder case lasted more than four years, with proceedings delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wash was convicted of the murder in early May after a jury needed only two hours to return with a guilty verdict.

Investigators learned Wash purchased a handgun just a few weeks before the murder took place. Wash maintained his innocence, however, saying he’s not the person who pulled the trigger.

Harlan’s loved ones complained they saw no remorse from Wash during the trial proceedings.

“Domestic violence — it’s real. If you’re a victim, don’t be afraid. Talk to somebody. Don’t wait until it’s too late,” Chapman said.

“Emotional abuse, physical abuse, tears families apart. It isolates women from their families,” Jane Stewart, another of Harlan’s aunts, said.

Johnson County Attorney Steve Howe commended the jury, which listened to three weeks of testimony, some of which contained strong descriptions of the murder scene. Harlan’s loved ones said they believe she’d be pleased with this outcome.

“It was a horrific crime, taking a young mother and her child. It’s the tough type of cases that, even as hardened prosecutors, it tugs on our hearts,” Howe told FOX4.

Jeff Dazey, Wash’s attorney, said he plans to appeal the life sentence. Wash’s family members wouldn’t comment on this sentencing, but one of them said the 30-year-old man is innocent of this crime.