A man who admitted killing a Binghamton resident by repeatedly hitting him in the head with a hammer has received the maximum sentence for second-degree murder.

According to the Broome County District Attorney's Office, 30-year-old Austin Whitney of Binghamton was sentenced in connection with the death of Anthony Cebula.

The body of the 60-year-old Cebula was found in a second-floor bedroom of his First Ward home by a relative on January 4, 2021. Police investigators said the attacker tried to set a fire in the residence at 1 Chelsea Square.

Chelsea Square in Binghamton on January 6, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Chelsea Square in Binghamton's First Ward on January 6, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Whitney was on the run for about a week after Cebula died. Investigators eventually received a tip that the suspect was seen on Grand Avenue in Vestal Center. He fled into a wooded area when police spotted him walking along Route 26.

Units from the Vestal and Binghamton police departments, along with Broome County sheriff's deputies and state troopers searched for Whitney for about 30 minutes.

Authorities said Whitney sustained lacerations as he tried to elude police.

In a news release, Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak said:

The community needs to be protected from violent individuals like Whitney. We are pleased that the Court agreed with our recommendation that the maximum sentence under New York State law of 25 years to life was warranted.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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