"I'm glad it will be over tomorrow," Gary McCartney, father of Desiree McCartney, said on Monday evening before the sentencing of 17-year-old Nickalas Kedrowitz on Tuesday, Feb. 1. "I waited four years for it to be done." 

This devastating chapter has come to a close for Gary. Nickalas Kedrowitz is sentenced to two terms of 50-years for the murder of his 23-month-old sister, Desiree McCartney, and his 11-month-old brother, Nathaniel Ritz. The toddler and infant were smothered 81 days apart. Kedrowitz was 13 when the murders occurred, and mental health was the defense's primary focus throughout the trial. Nevertheless, Ripley County Circuit Court Judge Ryan King found he was competent to stand trial. Accordingly, his case was waived to adult court.
After being convicted of two counts of murder, Nickalas faced a prison sentence of 45-65 years. However, the prosecution made a sentence recommendation of 50 years to be served consecutively. 

The defense filed a sentencing memorandum the day before the sentencing took place, asking King to consider sentencing Kedrowitz to 45 years for each count of murder to be served concurrently. Nickalas's mental health was again the focus behind the minimum sentence. 

Prior to Ripley County Judge Ryan King rendering his sentence, Prosecutor Ric Hertel read a statement to Nickalas on behalf of Gary McCartney. Gary shared, "I still have an extremely tough time dealing with what happened to my daughter, Desiree. I continue to ask the same questions, why would you (Kedrowitz) have done this and taken another human life and hurt animals. I know that you are the only one that knows the answer to this question. Nick, I kept praying that the day would come, that you would face all your charges. Also, you will be sent to prison for killing two people. And that day is here!" 

The emotionally charged trial began in Aug. 2021, lasting five days, and ended when the jury returned the guilty verdicts on both counts after just over six hours of deliberations.

After sharing the heartache suffered and precious memories of Desiree, Gary pleaded with Judge King to ensure justice was served for his daughter. "Thank you, Sir, for letting me share what is on my heart and speak in your courtroom. Sir, I ask that you give him the full prison sentence for these two unnecessary deaths. I understand there is laws that are set in place. Please do what is right within the eyes of our justice system. My family and I want to see justice for Desiree and her stepbrother, who will never be able to enjoy growing up and have an opportunity to follow their dreams."

After hearing from the state and the defense regarding aggravating and mitigating circumstances, Judge King gave his statement regarding the factors and how they weighed into his decision. But, ultimately, King felt the state's sentencing recommendation was fair. He noted Nickalas's lack of remorse throughout the investigation and trial. "He maliciously smothered them, and there was no lack of remorse," King said. "He never once said sorry, that I remember throughout any of the statements he made, and he talked to a bunch of people. That's shocking - you bump into someone in the hallway, you are at least going to say I am sorry. That's second nature."

King also recounted how Kedrowitz could conceal his secret and lie for several months. King believes that because of the smothering and the several minutes it took to kill Desiree, he would call Nickalas's murders premeditated. "If that wasn't bad enough, he turns around and does the same thing to Nathaniel," King said. That's a bad way to die." 

In his statement read in court, Gary included his deep gratitude for those who assisted the family throughout this nightmare. "I want to say thank you and the state lawyers who have done such challenging work making sure my daughter has justice, and our family has closure, and this young man gets sentenced and never is able to hurt another person. I also want to say a special thanks to all the Law Enforcement officers who put many hours into this case. Last of all, to all the Firefighters and the EMS crew who responded to that call. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your time."