NEWORLEANS-- A federal judge showed a former New Orleans Police officer, convicted of burning a man's body after Katrina, no mercy.
That former officer, Gregory McRae, stood before Judge Lance Africk nearly nine years after he torched Henry Glover's body on a levee batture, just days after the storm hit the city.
Glover had been fatally shot by a fellow officer during an earlier altercation at an Algiers strip mall. An appeals court threw out one of five federal charges on which McRae was convicted and ordered his sentence to be reconsidered.
Africk gave McRae a 17 years, three months sentence in 2010. That's the same sentence he handed down Friday afternoon.
Africk said the sentence reflected the seriousness of the crime McRea obstructed by burning the body.
'There was no legitimate law enforcement reason to burn Mr. Glover's body,' Africk said.
Africk also told McRae, 'Henry Glover mattered.'
'The defendant Greg McRae got no relief today from Judge Africk,' said EyewitnessNews Legal Analyst Donald 'Chick' Foret. 'He got the same sentence that he received previously. He got 10 years on one count, which is mandated by the federal sentencing guideline by statute.'
McRae apologized once again to the Glover family.
'Mrs. Glover, I am sorry for the loss of your son. I am sorry for my actions with his remains. I am sorry that it took years to come to light. That was not my intent.'
Outside the courthouse, Glover's aunt, Rebecca Glover, said the apology was not sincere.
'He's not sorry about anything,' she said. 'He's just sorry he got caught.'
McRae's attorneys were seeking a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines, arguing that McRae didn't know a fellow officer shot Glover before burning the body. They also argued that 26-year veteran cop's actions were an act of desperation by a man suffering fatigue and post-traumatic stress disorder.
'I respect the judge, but I think he's totally off base,' said McRae's attorney Mike Fawer. 'I think his comments that he was a part of a cover-up are just not supported by the record. I think he is wedded to positions he took during the original sentencing.'
The Glover family continues to believe McRae was part of a large NOPD cover-up.
'It was nothing but a cover-up,' Rebecca Glover said. 'You're not going to tell me that you didn't know that a police officer had shot him. Everybody over there knew that.'
Speaking directly to McRae, Africk said, 'Your callous and cold hearted actions caused the Glover family to continue to wonder what happened to their beloved Henry.'
'The judge has made a ruling,' Fawer said. 'We'll go up to the Court of Appeals and see if we can deal with it.'
McRae was one of three officers convicted in the Glover case. Two officers were found not guilty during the trial.
The shooter, David Warren, was found not guilty during a retrial last year. An appeals court determined his case was prejudiced by the fact that he stood trial with several co-defendants accused of a police cover-up.
Another officer, Travis McCabe, had his conviction set aside after a draft police report surfaced that appeared to contradict prosecutors claim that he doctored up the original police report to make it look like the shooting was justified.
'How could you say that the Warren acquittal is immaterial?' said Fawer. 'What is the crime that this man is supposedly covering up? Where is there any evidence that he knew it was Warren? There's none.'
'The reason McRae is the only defendant left, the only defendant that's going to be incarcerated, is the burning of the body,' said Foret.
McRae has already served about two years in prison. The judge agreed to a defense request and recommended McRae serve the rest of his time at a federal prison in Pensacola.