Airman gets life sentence

Arindain: Received life sentence in killing of Orelup.

The Associated Press

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A military judge on Monday sentenced a former sergeant from Cannon Air Force Base to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing a former girlfriend who was the mother of his child.

Staff Sgt. Jason Arindain was found guilty Saturday of unpremeditated murder in the death of Senior Airman Shelby Orelup, 22, who was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base at Wichita Falls.

Arindain faced a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

He also was dishonorably discharged.

Orelup, of Billings, Mont., was found dead in February 2003 in a ditch near the Wichita Falls base. She was beaten, sodomized and raped before she was strangled, according to an autopsy report.

Arindain was found innocent Saturday of charges of felony murder, rape and forcible sodomy.

The judge, Col. Mary E. Boone, said Monday that Arindain will have a chance for parole. It’s unclear when he will be eligible for parole or where he will serve his sentence, base spokesman Mike McKito said.

During the sentencing phase Sunday, Arindain’s mother said his father was stabbed to death before Arindain turned 4. A psychologist testified Arindain’s childhood led to problems with intimate relationships but that he could be treated.

Arindain on Sunday asked the military judge to consider a punishment that was not extreme, the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported in Monday editions. Arindain said he had never wanted to be like those who abused him.

“Part of me was not successful,” he said, asking for help. He turned and faced his own family and Orelup’s.

“I pray for your healing and your futures,” he said, and said he loved Orelup and their young daughter. “My heart is desperate to see her again.”

Government prosecutors said Arindain was always more interested in the relationship than Orelup was. Arindain suspected Orelup was seeing someone else, testimony revealed.

The day before Orelup was found dead, Arindain had brought the couple’s daughter back to Texas after spending time with the child in New Mexico, said Shirley Orelup, the victim’s mother.