A Montana judge sentenced a Washington state man Friday to life in prison without parole for killing and dismembering his 3-year-old son after his wife threatened to leave him and take the child.

38-year-old Jeremy Brent Cramer pleaded guilty in December to deliberate homicide in the July 8 slaying of Broderick Cramer, who was to turn 4 two days later. Cramer had taken the boy from their Lacey, Wash., home that morning after a confrontation with his wife, Nataliya, and killed him 5 miles southeast of Anaconda, Mont.

Prosecutors and Cramer's public defenders had reached a plea agreement that recommended life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. District Judge Loren Tucker removed any option of parole, saying the brutality of the crime deserved the harshest punishment possible.

Prosecutors said they did not have a sufficient legal foundation to argue for the death penalty.

Cramer nodded slightly as the judge handed down the sentence. Moments earlier, he told Tucker that he had accepted there is no punishment too great for the crime he committed, and that he was sorry for the shame he had brought to his family.

The details of the boy's death emerged for the first time Friday, as prosecutors and investigators described what happened on July 8.

Assistant Attorney General Brant Light says Cramer had argued with his wife that morning, and she had told him that he would lose his family if he didn't get his act together.

Light says Cramer was $30,000 in debt, couldn't hold steady work and was using — and likely abusing — prescription drugs.

That morning, after the confrontation, Cramer snatched the boy, took his wife's cellphone and drove away from their Lacey home. Nataliya Cramer dug up an old cellphone and called police that afternoon after her husband would not respond to calls or text messages.

Police officers started a search that intensified after Cramer told his father and brother in recorded phone calls from the jail that he had killed the boy and his body was in a field.

Investigators found the abandoned truck and the boy's body the next day.