CHICAGO (AP) -- Former Gov. George Ryan, who was acclaimed by capital punishment foes for suspending executions in Illinois and emptying out death row, was sentenced Wednesday to 61/2 years behind bars in the corruption scandal that ruined his political career.
"When they elected me as the governor of this state, they expected better, and I let 'em down and for that I apologize," the 72-year-old Republican said in court before hearing his sentence.
Federal prosecutors had asked for eight to 10 years in prison. Defense attorneys argued that even 21/2 years would deprive Ryan of the last healthy years of his life.
"Government leaders have an obligation to stand as the example. Mr. Ryan failed to meet that standard," U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer said.
Ryan and about a dozen members of his family stood stoically as Pallmeyer imposed the sentence. He said "involuntary separation" from his wife of 50 years, Lura Lynn, would be "excruciating."
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