The killer who stalked a decorated Iraq war veteran and stabbed him to death in a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, was sentenced Tuesday to life without parole.

Sean Burton, 42, of Newark, Del., was found guilty in March in the murder of James Stropas, 32, of Norristown.

In June, Stropas, who was dating Burton's estranged wife, had just bought breakfast and was returning to her Springfield Township home when he was attacked and stabbed more than 70 times.

In the days leading up to the murder, Burton attached a GPS device to Stropas' car to follow him. In his van was a shovel, hatchet, duct tape, plastic ties, gasoline, and black plastic gloves.

"We were robbed of a wonderful man," said the victim's brother. Peter Stropas said his brother was a good soldier, who joined the military after 9/11 and served two tours in Iraq. He earned three Purple Hearts for injuries, Peter Stropas said, but accepted only one of the medals.

"Now that he is gone," he said, "I don't think there is a day that goes by that he is not in my thoughts somewhere."

He said the family was sickened and angry at Burton's plea of self-defense. The family, he said, is forgiving and hopes Burton will be able to understand in time what he has taken from them.

Burton is appealing the verdict.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, mschaefer@phillynews.com,

or @marischaefer on Twitter.