James Whitler also was sentenced to two consecutive 24-year-sentences for the attempted murder of his son, 11, and daughter, 13.
Larimer District Judge Daniel Kaup told Whitler he could have merely accepted the divorce papers from Stephen Allen on May 28, 200,8 and moved on with his life. But instead, Whitler beat Allen to death with a baseball bat and then tried to stab his daughter and strangle both children unconscious.
"This didn't have to end this way," Kaup told Whitler before passing sentence.
A Larimer County jury convicted Whitler last month of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Whitler's lawyers argued that he "snapped" when he got his divorce papers and didn't plan to kill Allen.