"She was able to look into your eyes when you did it," said Superior Court Judge Michael Hayden.
The sentencing comes about three weeks after a King County Superior Court jury found David Pietz guilty of second-degree murder in the killing.
His wife, Nicole Pietz, 32, was strangled to death and her nude body was found in the woods in Burien in 2006. Nicole's mother Gael Schneider suspected her daughter's husband and pushed police for updates nearly every month.
"I wasn't gonna let him get away with this," said Schneider. Her husband Rod Schneider said he watched his wife walk the floors at night sobbing. "I've had the misfortune of watching this beautiful woman go through seven years of hell," Schneider told the judge.
But in court Thursday, Nicole's mother forgave her daughter's killer.
"David, I forgive you. I'm not going to allow myself to let you rule my life anymore," she said.
Nobody saw the crime happen, but prosecutors said during the trial that David Pietz was clumsy in his coverup and there was "a mountain of evidence" to convict him despite the lack of witnesses.
Jurors agreed. Juror Jim Claussen said Pietz's behavior and statements he made to police didn't add up.
"They were contradictory and the way he worded some things was just weird like there was a call from her cell phone, not she called me," said Claussen.
"I guess you're not quite as smart as you thought you were," the judge told Pietz at his sentencing.
Also at the sentencing, Pietz's parents showed up for the first time since his trial began.
"I love my son with all my heart, " said his mother Sandy Pietz. His father Martin Pietz said, "As his father I love and support him. This entire situation has been absolutely a horrible shock to us and an extremely difficult time."
Pietz will likely serve about 16 years after counting time he's already served. Schneider said she'd like to one day increase the amount of prison time for second degree murder and call it Nici's Law.