It was the maximum punishment Judge David Gold was able to hand down.
Pekley, a mother of four, was found nude at the former R.S. Moulding and Manufacturing Co. in Wallingford, where she worked alone at night.
Wallingford police charged Benefield four months after Kenneth Ireland was exonerated when DNA evidence showed that the wrong man was in jail.
"The victim here was Barbara Pelkey, everyone agrees with that," said William Bloss, Kenneth Ireland's attorney. "But what happened to Ken Ireland was just unimaginably cold, as Judge Gold said. Another man put him there and another man had the key to his jail cell and he refused to let it go, and what happened was wrong."
Benefield, who officials said has an extensive criminal history in New York, was extradited from New York to Connecticut to face sexual assault and murder charges and was found guilty in January.
"On behalf of our family we would like to thank the jury for their time and effort in the deliberations."
Pelkey’s daughter, Kathryn Davitt, said on Wednesday. "Although this verdict brings this case to a close, this is not a time of celebrating for our family. The death of our mother has destroyed so many lives in the course of 25 years."
Davitt went on to say:
"Some of the forgotten people affected as a direct result of this crime include our father Arthur Pelkey Sr. who took his own life as a result of losing his wife to this horrific crime. The four of us, her children who grew up without either parent, missing out on the relationships and stability most people take for granted."