ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) – An Athol man has been sentenced to life in prison Wednesday after he was found guilty by a jury of murdering Kelsey Clifford in 2019.

According to Laurie Loisel from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, 25-year-old Keith D. Hamel was sentenced in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield to the mandatory life in prison without parole after a seven-day trial. The jury found Hamel guilty of first-degree murder in connection to killing 26-year-old Kelsey Clifford in Leominster with a hammer at 3:30 a.m. in November 2019.

Kelsey Clifford

Hamel murdered and robbed Clifford of her money and cell phone on Jones Street on November 11, 2019. Later that day, police recovered a sweatshirt with Clifford’s blood on the outside and the suspect’s DNA inside the sleeve.

After hearing from Clifford’s family, Judge Agostini said he’d never seen a case that involved such viciousness, “This was simply incomprehensible. This was as despicable and as violent a conduct as I’ve ever seen inflicted. I can only hope that the Clifford family can move on.”

Hamel was also sentenced eight to ten years for two charges of misleading police and eight to ten years for charges of tampering with evidence as well as four counts of withholding evidence. Some of the sentences are concurrent with his life in prison sentencing and some are consecutive.