THE BRONX - A man convicted of beating and strangling his girlfriend nearly two years ago was sentenced on Monday.

James Williams will serve the next 17 years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Shanetta Fernandez, back in November 2011.

Fernandez's mother, sister and family members read letters aloud at the Bronx County Hall of Justice, describing the pain of violently losing their loved one. The victim's four children did not attend the sentencing, but sent a pair of letters for the judge to read.

Williams' family was not present in court.

When asked whether he had any last words before his sentencing was handed down, Williams remained silent.