NEW YORK (AP) – A young mugger who shot aspiring actress and playwright Nicole duFresne to death while robbing her on a Manhattan street was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 30 years.

Rudy Fleming, 21, was sentenced on his Oct. 12 conviction of first-degree murder in the death on Jan. 27, 2005, of the Minnesota native during the gunpoint holdup of her and three of her friends on the Lower East Side.

Prosecutors said Fleming deliberately fired a .357 Magnum bullet through duFresne’s chest because she challenged him. Witnesses said they pushed each other and she said to him after the robbery, “What are you going to do, shoot us?”

Fleming was convicted on nine counts, including murder, robbery, attempted robbery and gun possession. As he had during his trial, he refused to go to the courtroom. He monitored the sentencing electronically from another room in the building.

State Supreme Court Justice Daniel FitzGerald expressed his sympathies to the duFresne family, saying “a very fine, very beautiful woman … deservedly well-loved by all who knew her,” had been killed.

The judge said as he imposed sentence that Fleming was a “cold-blooded and thoroughly hateful person.”

Fleming’s lawyer, Anthony Ricco, conceded to the court that “shooting a defenseless person is completely inexcusable and unacceptable conduct.”

Ricco did not ask the judge for a lesser sentence for Fleming, but he said he hoped Fleming could rehabilitate himself in prison.

DuFresne, 28, a native of Wayzata, Minn., was living in Brooklyn and working as a bartender on the Lower East Side when she was killed by Fleming while he and some of his six companions robbed her and her friends around 3 a.m.

The young people accused of being Fleming’s accomplices have been charged separately, and their cases are pending.

The jury that convicted Fleming found that he committed other crimes that night. Besides shooting duFresne and robbing her group, Fleming tried to rob a young man of his jacket and smashed duFresne’s fiance, Jeffrey Sparks, across the face with the butt of his gun.

The 30 years added to Fleming’s life sentence include 15 years for attempting to rob the young man and 15 years for his illegal possession of a gun.

DuFresne had acted in several productions and had co-written a play that toured in drama festivals in the United States and Canada.

Her parents, Tom and Linda duFresne, were not present for Fleming’s sentencing. They sent statements that Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman read in court.

“Seventeen days I lived in hell as the trial unfolded,” Tom duFresne wrote. “Not one minute more will I sacrifice to the coward who murdered my first child, the light of my life.”

Sparks, given an opportunity to speak, told Fleming, “I don’t hate you. Hating you would be a waste of my energy. I reserve my hate for the gun industry and the politicians who put a gun in the hands of somebody like you.”

“I hope you go away for the rest of your life,” Sparks continued. “I hope you wake up every morning thinking of Nicole. If you do, we’ll have that in common.”

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