ALFRED — Jason Twardus has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for strangling 30-year-old nursing student Kelly Gorham of Alfred in 2007 and burying her body on his father’s land in northern New Hampshire.

Gorham and Twardus lived together for two years before she broke off their engagement. She disappeared in August 2007. Her body was found a month later in a shallow grave on Twardus’ father’s property in Stewartstown, N.H.

The sentence was handed down by Justice G. Arthur Brennan in York County Superior Court today.

Twardus’ defense had been seeking a base sentence of 30 years. The prosecution sought a base sentence of 40 to 45 years.

During the pre-sentencing hearing, Kelly Gorham’s family asked Brennan to impose a life sentence.

“Even that will not fill the void that has been forced into our lives,” said Katie Gorham, Kelly’s sister.

Twardus’ supporters, however, described him as a loving person and asked the judge for leniency.

“I have always looked up to Jason as my kind, compassionate and patient big brother,” said Kimberly Twardus.

In sentencing Twardus to 38 years, Brennan cited the slightly mitigating factors that Twardus had no prior criminal history, that he has a high degree of family support and that evidence didn’t suggest that Twardus was an intrinsically evil person, though he did commit an evil act.

When offered an opportunity to speak, Twardus, 30, declined, and he did not speak to reporters when authorities escorted him out of the courthouse when the hearing adjourned.