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Feb. 12—Emily Steele told her father that she and her surviving family no longer want to have any relationship with him following his conviction for the first-degree murder of her mother.
Steele, 20, sat in the witness chair Monday and directed her father, seated just feet away in a blue prison-issued jump suit, to look her in the eyes as she talked about the impact of his actions nearly two years ago.
"How I feel about you is clear: I don't love you. I loved the father you used to be. I don't want you in my life anymore. I don't want to talk to you anymore. You took her and you lied about her. It's disgusting," said Steele just before her father was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"You will never know anything about my life. You took that privilege away when you took my mother," she said.
Alfred Keith Steele, 44, of Apollo was convicted by a Westmoreland County jury last fall for the May 14, 2022, execution-style slaying of his estranged wife, 41-year-old Kelly Steele, inside a U-Haul storage facility in Lower Burrell.
Prosecutors said Steele fired one shot into the back of his wife's head, the culmination of years of fighting and an ongoing drug addiction he claimed was responsible for marital problems that led to the fatal shooting. Witnesses said at trial that Steele stalked his wife and contemplated having her killed in response to his false belief she had been unfaithful.
Steele contended at the trial that the shooting was an accident. He claimed he did not intend to injure his wife as they argued inside the storage facility over her taunts that suggested she was ready to move on from the troubled relationship. Steele testified that he found a gun inside the storage locker and said it misfired as he waved it during their fight.
The Steele children made clear they no longer consider their father a part of their family.
"I do not forgive you. I want you to think about what you did to my kids. And your kids," said 24-year-old son Ean Steele.
Steele initially refused to address his children in court but relented after being challenged by the judge to respond to what he heard from them.
"Words ain't going to bring her back. I'm sorry for all of it. For everything that went down like it did. Sorry doesn't say enough," he said.
Steele also pleaded guilty Monday to an unrelated drug charge stemming from an arrest more than a month before his wife's murder. In that case, Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio ordered Steele to serve a concurrent sentence of 11.5 to 23 months in jail. He agreed to forfeit more than $2,500 that was confiscated by police at the time of his arrest. That money will be added to the more than $5,200 owed in restitution to his wife's estate.
"I want to make sure that money goes to my kids," Steele said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a TribLive reporter covering Westmoreland County government, politics and courts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.