SUPERIOR COURT — Three months before then-24-year-old Sky McDonough murdered his 17-year-old girlfriend, Leanna Walker, the Milford, Pa., man burglarized a barn in Sussex County.
McDonough, now 28, appeared in state Superior Court in Newton Friday where he was sentenced by Judge Louis S. Sceusi to a three-year term in state prison, to run concurrent with his sentence in Pennsylvania.
McDonough, who responded, “No, Your Honor, thank you,” when asked if he wanted to speak in court, pleaded guilty in January to a single count of third-degree burglary. He admitted that he broke into a barn in Wantage and stole food and a horse blanket on Feb. 23, 2016.
Sceusi, when handing down the sentence, said he felt the plea agreement was appropriate considering McDonough is serving a sentence between 20 and 42 ½ years in Pennsylvania for Walker’s murder. He is incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, in Luzerne County, Pa., a medium security prison.
McDonough has been in the Morris County Jail since Jan. 6 on an Interstate Agreement on Detainers he signed, which brought him from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to face his indictment. Had he declined to sign the agreement, McDonough would have been sentenced after he was released from his current Pennsylvania sentence.
Prior to Walker’s disappearance, McDonough was reported missing by his family on Feb. 22, 2016 in the area of River Road and Route 650 in Montague. He was spotted the same day near High Point State Park by police, but was not captured.
On Feb. 23, 2016, McDonough admitted he broke into a home in Wantage and stole various items, and after evading police capture for several months, was arrested on April 25, 2016 while roaming the streets in Milford. In jail, McDonough told authorities he knew where Walker was and led them in circles, later escaping briefly, police have said.
On May 15, 2016 authorities discovered Walker’s remains and determined her death to be caused by “homicidal violence,” police said.
On June 30, 2017, McDonough was charged with her death. He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was sentenced on Dec. 18, 2018.
Police said McDonough, after disappearing from his home and evading police capture in February and March 2016, convinced Walker to leave her own home on April 18, 2016. A Pennsylvania trooper testified during one of McDonough’s court hearings that McDonough said he and Walker were planning on running away to Jamaica because of the warrants McDonough was facing in Sussex County.
In court documents and hearings in court, McDonough was identified as a jealous boyfriend who believed Walker was cheating on him. He believed them to be married — which was not true — and signed documents declaring their “divorce” over Walker’s purported lying and flirting with other boys.
McDonough, while jailed after Walker’s remains were found on a former llama farm in Milford, told a corrections officer he believed Walker was attacked by a bear and struck by lightning.
The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Brent Rafuse; McDonough was represented by attorney Shaun Russell.
Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LoriComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.