NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Michael Ryan Brown will spend 38 years in prison for the murder of a Norfolk Botanical Garden worker that took place in 2008.

People found horticulturist Angela ("Angie") Lechlitner dead inside her home in the 2400 block of Shafer St. on January 19 of that year.

Police in North Carolina arrested Brown in 2015; he was indicted in 2016 for Lechlitner's murder and rape.

On Tuesday, Brown entered an Alford Plea in Norfolk Circuit Court. A defendant does not acknowledge guilt through an Alford Plea, but he does recognize that if his case were to go to trial, a jury likely would find him guilty.

The plea was to Capital Murder and Abduction with Intent to Defile.

He was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. The life sentence was suspended with the following conditions:

  • Defendant serves 38 years of active time for the Capital Murder conviction
  • Defendant is of uniform good behavior while incarcerated and does not incur any felony convictions
  • Defendant is of uniform good behavior upon his release from incarceration for 50 years with indeterminate supervision
  • Defendant has no contact at any time, direct or indirect or through third parties, with any member of the victim’s family
  • Defendant registering as required as a sex offender

The 20 years Brown received for the Abduction conviction will run concurrent with the 38 years of active time for the Capital Murder conviction.

Lechlitner's family spent time in the Norfolk Botanical Garden today, walking around Angie's memorial garden and remember her life.

Pastor Kenny Bryant of Tabernacle Church in Norfolk told 13News Now the family is at peace.

"I've talked to a lot of people about it and a word that I hear over and over again is the word 'closure.' That this brings closure. But in reality it doesn't bring closure-- when you lose a loved one there's always hurt, there's always a sense of loss, there's always a void that you feel; but in the midst of all of that loss and the grief and the sorrow the peace of Jesus shows up and that's what the Lechlitner family is feeling today," he said.

Michael Brown Plea Agreement by 13News Now on Scribd