MONTREAL – Samantha Higgins' killer, Nick Fontanelli, was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 17 years. 

A second-degree murder charge designates life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years. The prosecution and the defense jointly put forward the 17-year sentence, and the judge agreed. 

Fontanelli, Higgins' fiancé, murdered her in July 2015 inside their LaSalle apartment.

Higgins’ body was found dismembered in Hinchinbrooke, a rural community in the Châteauguay Valley not far from the U.S. border. Initially, he reported her missing and took part in efforts to find her.

Tuesday was an emotional morning for Higgins’ family as they gave victim impact statements to the court.

One by one, her relatives, including her mother, sister and grandfather, told the judge how much their lives have changed since her murder.

“I never got to say good-bye to my daughter,” mother Vanessa Higgins told the court.

She added her life will never be the same and Samantha’s two young children will never have parents again.

Earlier this month, Fontanelli pleaded guilty to the charge of second-degree murder in her death.

He said Tuesday that he was “very sorry,” had deep remorse for what he did and “wish it never happened.”