By Ben Thompson
Barbara Coyne’s family spoke at her killer’s sentencing on Wednesday, remembering how loving the 67-year-old South Boston grandmother was, and how she fought for her family, even in her last moments alive.
Last Friday, a jury convicted Timothy Kostka, 30, of Coyne’s murder. On Wednesday a judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and a 20 to 25 year prison sentence for home invasion.
Coyne’s relatives took to the stand in the crowded courtroom to address the event that has profoundly impacted their family over the past three years.
Richard Coyne, Barbara’s son and the first person to find her after Kostka’s brutal attack, told the court amidst tears how he missed his mother and her daily coffee, as well as how proud he was of her. Coyne finished his victim impact statement by commenting that life in prison was too good for Kostka.
Barbara Coyne’s sister, Pat, was the next to speak. She went on to thank the law enforcement and legal teams that participated in the case, and concluded by saying that Kostka was too dangerous to ever be let out of prison.
“She brought us through far too many family tragedies with nurturing and love. I know if you had just asked her for help, she would have done it,” Pat Coyne addressed Kosta.
Sinead Coyne, Barbara’s granddaughter, was the last of the family to make a statement. Her personal testimony focused on her feelings of loss, and her hope that Barbara Coyne would be remembered more as a loving person than as evidence in court.
“She truly was strength and grace personified,” Sinead told the court. “Her generosity knew no bounds.”
Following the statements from Coyne’s family, defense attorney William Gens highlighted Kostka’s childhood, work and life achievements before mentioning the opiate addiction that led to Coyne’s murder. Kostka had broken into her home to steal valuables which he hoped to sell for heroin money, and slit her throat in a struggle when she happened upon him.
Judge Mitchell Kaplan, who presided over the case over the last several weeks, handed down concurrent sentences for Kostka’s two crimes and remarked on the tragedy the ongoing opiate crisis had caused for the Kostka and Coyne families.
The two households had known each other for years before Barbara’s murder.