Rhodes said in a news conference after the hearing that he plans to appeal the sentence. The defense attorney said the state was "allowed to run away with this case," and he maintained that his client is innocence.
Holback, the prosecutor, said she was pleased with the ruling. "We're very satisfied with the sentence imposed. We believe justice has been served," she said.
The killings occurred after Cross Keys Elementary School let out for the day. The children went to their family's Fallstaff apartment and were beaten and nearly decapitated about 4:30 p.m., police say. The parents were not there at the time.