ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

A St. Paul man has been has been given the maximum sentence for strangling a woman he said was his "best friend."

Corey Thomas earlier pleaded guilty to intentional second-degree murder and was sentenced Tuesday to 34 years behind bars. Thomas apologized in Ramsey County District Court to the family of Megan Neely. The 27-year-old mother of two was strangled in October 2011 and her body was stuffed in a crawl space at her apartment. Prosecutors said Thomas could not accept the fact that Neely wanted out of their relationship.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Judge Kathleen Gearin also ordered Thomas to pay $7,800 in funeral and burial expenses.