NY man gets life sentence in murder-for-hire killing

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 17:45:15-05

A 46-year-old man convicted of bludgeoning to death the wife of a former professional hockey player in a murder-for-hire killing has been sentenced to a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.

Michael Beard was convicted in November of first- and second-degree murder in the death of Kelley Clayton in September 2015. Beard was sentenced Monday in Steuben County Court. He had confessed to investigators that he killed her after her husband, Thomas, promised to pay him $10,000.

Thomas Clayton was a star at Niagara University before going on to play professionally for the Elmira Jackals, a minor league affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. Clayton faces sentencing on the same charges. The 45-year-old Clayton, who was found guilty last Thursday, will be sentenced in April.