The defense attorney of Paul Dion Jr., 46, of Bourg, said he would appeal the sentence, which Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes said was expected.
Although Rhodes mentioned Dion fled the day before his verdict in November, and police caught him less than a week later, it was not a central part of the speech he gave Judge George Larke Jr. before Dion's sentencing.
"I don't believe in the prosecutorial strategy of, 'Only give me the maximum sentence,'" said Rhodes, who said he could count on one hand the number of times he has demanded the maximum.
"It's the message that needs to be sent," Rhodes said. "I know there is not much difference between a 30-year and a 40-year sentence. He probably won't make it to 40 years. But it's the message."
Rhodes argued that the lives of the mother, Melissa Thibodeaux, her family and the child that was shaken, Spencer Dion, have been "destroyed," and they will be emotionally and financially burdened by Dion's crime for the rest of their lives.
Thibodeaux, whose only son is Spencer, read a letter before the sentencing, also requesting that Dion get 40 years.
"What's 40 years compared with the two life sentences we are serving? ... He will never be able to ask for the car keys to go on a date with his future wife," she said. "I will never hear the word, 'mama' for the first time. ... We are serving two life sentences, Spencer's and the family's. I think 40 years would be a drop in the bucket for Paul to serve."