A grieving father said he feels cheated despite the fact his daughter’s killer will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tommy Sipes stood in Judge Twyla Mason Gray’s courtroom Friday to testify in the plea and sentencing hearing for Ronald Windham of Norman.

“I only wish you had the courage to do to yourself what you did to my daughter,” he said. “She was my daughter. My only child.”

Windham pled guilty to murdering Jennifer Sipes whose burned body was in an East Edmond field in December 2005. During his July pretrial hearing, a Norman Police officer testified Windham came to the Norman Police Department in November 2006 and admitted he hit Sipes with a baseball bat as she slept at his south Oklahoma City apartment. Windham told Norman officers he then used a knife to cut into her head and slash her throat. He said he then placed her body in a plastic tub, drove to a residential place in Edmond and poured 5 gallons of gas on Sipes’ body before setting it on fire. In exchange for a guilty plea, Windham received life in prison without parole for the murder charge, life in prison for arson and 10 years for removal of a human body.

Mary Reynolds, Sipes’ mother, also confronted Windham during the court session. She said the family was getting “some justice.”

“But you will get the final justice when you leave this Earth and stand by a higher judge,” she said.

Windham wrote a letter to the Sipes family and in it he was sorry. “But the word isn’t big enough to help with the pain and sorrow you now have for the loss of Jennifer,” he wrote.

Windham also wrote that he and the family hold something in common. “I wish that on that Sunday I could take it back and just never answered my door. As long as I am locked up no other family will have to go through the awful tragic pain that you and your family has endured,” he wrote.

But Tommy Sipes said he also is upset that the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office did not seek the death penalty or according to him “consider his daughter’s murder heinous.”

“I’m sad (Windham) didn’t get what he took,” he said. “D.A. David Prater never returned my phone calls when I called him to explain why this wasn’t heinous. I think that is discourteous of him.”

But Assistant District Attorney Gary Ackley, who represented the office in this case, said he understands the family’s grief and their wishes.

“When people speak out in pain, we hear what they say,” he said. “There’s no compensation man can hand out at the courthouse for having a child murdered.”

Ackley said the D.A. office’s view of murder has not changed. “We still seek the death penalty in appropriate cases. It was our judgment that this case did not fit the legal definition of ‘especially heinous, atrocious and cruel’ as defined by the courts.”

When the hearing ended the Sipes family wept and hugged members of Windham’s family before leaving.

“They had a loss too,” Tommy Sipes said. “There is no winner in this. We understand that.”

Recommended for you