BARTOW -- Lorraine Rash never had the chance to conquer her addictions or enjoy healthy relationships with her family.

She never had the chance, family members said Friday, because Tony Ray Wilson -- the boyfriend with whom she maintained a volatile relationship -- beat her to death with a baseball bat in the Eloise apartment they shared.

At Wilson’s sentencing Friday, those who loved Rash asked a judge to throw the book at a man they derided as a “coward” and “an animal.”

“You had no right to take the life of my daughter,” Sue Sykes, Rash’s mother, told Wilson. “Only God has that right. . . . What an animal you are.”

Circuit Judge Roger Alcott sentenced 47-year-old Wilson to a total of 45 years in prison for fatally beating Rash on Jan. 2, 2003, and attacking Dale Francis, whom Wilson may have thought was involved with Rash.

In April, jurors convicted Wilson of manslaughter in Rash’s death and attempted second-degree murder for attacking Francis.

Alcott gave Wilson a 30-year sentence for attacking Francis and a consecutive 15-year sentence for killing Rash, 50.

The 45-year sentence was the maximum allowed by state law.

“This violent criminal demands the maximum sentence for this horrendous crime,” Rash’s sister, Linda Acocelli, told Alcott. 

Addressing Wilson, who sat, seemingly unfazed, through much of Friday’s hearing, Acocelli said: “After you killed her, you ran like a coward and just left her in that awful place she called home.”

Wilson, Rash and Francis were drinking and arguing the night Rash died at the Snively Avenue apartment Wilson and Rash shared, according to Polk County sheriff’s deputies.

Wilson accused Rash and Francis of stealing beer and money from him and called 911 to report a robbery.

Deputies responded but made no arrests.

At Wilson’s trial, Assistant State Attorney Brad Copley argued that Wilson took matters into his own hands, beating Rash and Francis in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and then running away.

The landlord found Rash’s body three days after the deadly confrontation. Her body was wrapped in a blue blanket and buried under cardboard boxes.

Friday, defense lawyer Doug Jackson urged Alcott to impose less than the maximum sentence, arguing that Wilson had no prior felony convictions and hadn’t meant to kill Rash.

He said Wilson had attacked Rash and Francis in a fit of anger and was remorseful and shocked when he returned to the apartment and found her dead.