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Newman Lake man sentenced to 16 years for the murder of his girlfriend

The judge sentenced Holden to 16 years for second degree murder of Tina Stewart.

SPOKANE, Wash.-- Nicholas Holden was sentenced Friday for murdering his girlfriend back on Thanksgiving of 2017.

The judge sentenced Holden to 16 years for second degree murder of Tina Stewart.

Friends and family of Stewart, were present at the court and asked the judge to give Holden the maximum sentence.

"He doesn't deserve to have a life outside of the prison walls. He destroyed our family and his too," Stewart's mother said.

"Myself and all named today hope you have trouble sleeping at night. We hope and pray the images of what you have done consume your every thought," Stewart's family member Stephanie Bailey said.

Family members of Holden even came forward with statements saying they too loved Tina and that Holden is remorseful.

"He's devastated and broken. He too cannot believed this happened," his mother said

Then, Holden spoke to the courtroom.

"Although none of this was intended, I fully understand and accept that punishment must come from my actions," he said.

Holden told the court he will not forget this pain and vowed to never drink alcohol again.

"My actions have, regretfully, not only caused the loss of an amazing woman, but caused the emotion, mental and psychological pain, heartache and confusion of Tina's friends, family, and my own friends and family," he said.

Instead of life in prison, the judge sentenced Holden to 16 years behind bars. Upset by this decision, many of Stewart's family left the courtroom before the judge finished speaking.

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Newman Lake Fire Department personnel responded first to the scene back on Black Friday of 2017, according to court documents, and found the victim covered in bruises and other marks.

One of the emergency responders asked Holden if that was the victim’s condition when he found her and he replied “We got into it last night. It was bad,” according to court documents.

Holden’s father told detectives the suspect and victim had come over for Thanksgiving. He said he convinced Nicholas Holden to stay the night because he had been drinking, then had gone to bed.

Nicholas Holden told investigators he and the victim had gotten into an argument after his father had gone to bed. He said the argument escalated into a physical fight in an upstairs bedroom but they moved through all three levels of the home during the fight, according to court documents.

He said they eventually calmed down and “passed out together on the basement floor,” according to the documents. He told investigators he woke up twice overnight to the victim unresponsive, bleeding and vomiting, but cleaned up the mess and went back to sleep. The third time he woke up, according to court documents, at 8 a.m. he “started panicking” and called his mother.

Investigators noted in the documents he had only called 911 after talking to his mother.

Investigators said the victim had multiple abrasions on her torso, consistent with having been dragged over a rough surface like that of the textured concrete floor in the basement. They said it appeared she had suffered a severe beating.

Stewart's family plans to continue her legacy by working on a domestic violence bill in her honor.