A lawyer for convicted teen murderer Scott Dyleski pleaded with a judge to give the teen hope Tuesday - to give him "the slimmest opportunity" of a chance at parole after he serves 25 years in prison for the brutal murder of his 52-year-old neighbor Pamela Vitale.

"Scott Dyleski made a terrible mistake," public defender Ellen Leonida said at Dyleski's sentencing hearing. "There is always the possibility that he can mature into a responsible, productive citizen."

But the judge rejected the defense's request and sentenced Dyleski, 17, to life in prison without the chance of parole for the Oct. 15, 2005, bludgeoning death of Vitale, a former high-tech executive, mother of two and wife of prominent criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz.

"This was a very deliberate, planned murder. You concealed your identity by wearing a mask and gloves, by wearing a long coat," Judge Barbara Zuniga said while addressing the teen. "You planned this, sir, and this was a very brutal killing ... as she lay dying, at your feet, you proceeded to stab her. That was unnecessary. You added to her pain, Mr. Dyleksi."

Vitale's parents, her sister, her two children and her husband gave tearful statements Tuesday, describing their "shattered and broken" lives over the loss of a woman whose "contagious laughter and huge smile" lit up a room.

Dyleski chose not to make a statement. He did not express any emotion during the hearing.

A jury found Dyleski guilty of Vitale's first-degree murder on Aug. 28. He was also convicted of the special circumstance of murder committed during the commission of a burglary. He was tried as an adult, but was ineligible for the death penalty because he was 16 at the time of the murder.

Dyleski has never publicly admitted to killing Vitale or divulged details about why he attacked her as she was sitting alone in her living room in rural Lafayette, Calif., on a Saturday morning, Web surfing for news of her husband's recent court cases and researching her family's genealogy.

"I beg of you, put our minds to rest," Vitale's daughter, Marisa, said in a pre-sentencing statement to the court. "Tell us what the last moments of our mother's life were here on Earth."

The victim's son, Mario, said he had discovered during the month-long trial that he shared commonalities with Dyleski: They were both raised by a single mother, were considered "weird" in school, and both had musical aptitude.

"Where we differ is that somewhere along the line you got lost," Mario said. "Now you're nothing more than a murderer with no one to blame but yourself."

Autopsy reports indicate Vitale suffered 26 head wounds, broken fingers and dislodged teeth. Her body was bruised and battered. She suffered a gaping knife wound to her abdomen, exposing her intestines.

A symbol that resembled signature marks on the teen's artwork was carved onto her back.

"The symbol carved into her back by you showed you were proud of your work," the judge said Tuesday.

Before he left the crime scene, Dyleski took a sip from Vitale's water bottle and washed his knife in the bathtub, leaving behind bloody smears.

A black face mask, gloves, shirt and trench coat - which were later found in Dyleski's duffel bag - were stained with a mixture of his and Vitale's blood. The teen also left his shoeprint at the crime scene, and evidence of his DNA was found on Vitale's foot.

Daniel Horowitz came home from work that evening to find his wife's body bloodied and curled up in a fetal position by the door.

"What I thought and what I felt when I walked in that house was almost a party of blood," Horowitz said Tuesday in his statement.

"He beat her again and again and took pleasure in it," Horowitz said, asking the judge to show the same lack of mercy to the boy who showed his wife no mercy or humanity.

According to witnesses at his trial, Dyleski was a gentle vegan kid who also had a fascination with Goth music and serial killers.

"There is more to this kid than the worst thing he's ever done," Dyleski's attorney Leonida said in his defense.

Lyn Dyleski spoke on behalf of her former stepson and described him as a child who was the victim of bad fathering, accusing Ken Dyleski of never disciplining his son, emotionally abandoning him and allowing him to subsist on a diet of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets and Trix cereal.

She described Dyleski's broken home, including his parents' separation when he was 3, his sister's death in a car accident, and the years he and his mother, Esther Fielding, spent sleeping under a lean-to on a friend's property.

Fielding and Ken Dyleski sat in the front row of the courtroom Tuesday but did not make a statement and declined to comment afterward.

Two adults who knew the teen through his interactions with their children, and a classmate with a purple streak in her hair, said it was inconceivable to them that he had committed such a horrific act.

The judge said she took into account numerous letters from Dyleski's friends and relatives, who focused on his age, his intelligence, and his artistic qualities, as well as newspaper editorials critical of sending the boy to life in prison without parole.

Those individuals were not privy to the facts of the case that unfolded in court, the judge said.

"I can understand why people are struggling to understand what it was that caused you to do it. Why they're trying to focus on your age and insecurity," Zuniga said.

"They blame your mother. They blame your father. They blame your lifestyle," the judge said. "People do not want to understand and to accept that someone who looks like you, who is the young man living next door, could be so evil."

"People have also commented on your lack of affect," the judge told Dyleski.

She said she recalled catching him expressing emotion once in court - when autopsy photos were shown as a pathologist described Vitale's wounds.

"I saw you, sir, lean forward and your mouth fell open," the judge said. "You were absolutely fascinated by your handiwork."

"Sir, you do not deserve to live among decent people," the judge said. "Your sentence is going to be for life."