The gruesome murder of a Windsor man has an American set to serve at least the next 13 years in a Canadian prison.

Dustin Schuh, 28, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for what Justice Bruce Thomas calls the “particularly brutal homicide” of 26-year-old Scott Phillips.

The courtroom was packed with family of both the accused and the victim. The room was so full in fact; the Windsor Police Service sent an extra compliment of officers to keep proceedings in order.

Phillips was kidnapped, tortured and beaten by people he knew in a Mill Street apartment on Oct. 19, 2016.

He died of his injuries in hospital.

“They hurt him so much that in the hospital, I couldn’t hold his hand because it was painful to him,” said Amanda Marion, Phillips’ cousin.

Schuh was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years.

A family member of Dustin Schuh sobbed during the entire hearing while the family of Scott Phillips sat quietly; listening to what Schuh had to say to the court.

Before being sentenced, Schuh addressed the jam-packed courtroom.

“I got a lot of support,” said Schuh. “This is a sad situation for everyone involved.”

He also told the court while in prison he would take counselling, “So when I come out, if I come out, be a better man.”

Defence lawyer Daniel Brodsky was planning to go to trial before striking a deal with the Crown last week which saw charges of forcible confinement and kidnapping dropped in exchange for Schuh’s plea to second degree murder.

“There were five people who the judge acknowledged today, who were involved or allegedly involved with my client in a joint enterprise,” said Brodsky.

Crown attorney Craig Houle admits their case was difficult because their key witnesses are all those involved in the city’s violent drug culture.

“Those types of witnesses are no witnesses that are friendly to the Crown,” said Houle. “They don’t want to be here, they don’t want to testify. They certainly don't want to be seen as ‘rats’ or they don't want to be testifying against people they'll have to deal with in the future.”

Five other people have pleaded guilty for their roles in what happened that day.

Twin brothers Erick and Dennis Bercian are in prison for five years for kidnapping. Melissa Luyten has a four year sentence for forcible confinement. Walter Smith is in prison for two-and-a-half years for being an accessory to murder

In April, Daniel Shaw will learn his punishment for forcible confinement.