Then, police said, the men pistol-whipped her and drove her around New Jersey for six hours while they smoked marijuana and looked for guns and a place to kill her.
Laurance, whose face reflected defiance and incredulity during the emotional sentencing hearing, apologized to the victim's family but insisted he was innocent.
"They've made me out to be this bad guy, and there's nothing proved. . . . The state presented a case on hearsay," he said.
During the trial in Mount Holly last month, jurors heard a taped statement Laurance gave to police, saw threatening letters he wrote to his ex-girlfriend to "stop snitching," and heard the testimony of accomplice Kareem Harrison, 19. Harrison is awaiting sentencing, while the two others are pending trial.
Ruslan and Marina Burshteyn, the victim's children, said after the sentencing that they were pleased with the outcome.
"The likelihood of him ever being released from jail is zero," Ruslan said. "I won't say it's fair - there's no such thing - but the sentence is appropriate and permissible by law."
First Assistant Prosecutor Ray Milavsky said the one thing that the victim and Laurance shared is that both were "born on foreign soil." But they led starkly different lifestyles, he said.
Burshteyn, who was Jewish, fled the Soviet Union because of religious persecution and became a successful businesswoman and a citizen.
Laurance was an illegal immigrant from Jamaica and became a drug dealer and thief, Milavsky said.
Defense lawyer Michael E. Riley said that "the tragedy of the family is hard to contemplate" but that another tragedy is the "wasted lives of others" who committed the crime, including his client. "There are no winners in this," he said. "Everybody loses."
Contact staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @JanHefler on Twitter. Read her blog at www.philly.com/BurlcoBuzz