Monika Ann Dilmaghanian, 34, had pleaded guilty as charged last month to first-degree felony murder for the April 6 death of 24-year-old Nathan D. Harris at a campground near Causey Reservoir.
Defense attorney Bernie Allen - who believes Dilmaghanian is guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter - said she refused to go to trial and seek a lesser conviction because she did not want her children to have to testify against her.
On Wednesday, Allen unsuccessfully argued that 2nd District Court Judge Ernie Jones had the authority to reduce Dilmaghanian's conviction by one degree to manslaughter.
Jones cited recent case law upholding a Utah statute that lists murder among a dozen crimes that cannot be reduced by a sentencing judge.
"I'm locked in," Jones said.
That means Dilmaghanian was sentenced the same as Mark Hacking, who in July 2004 shot his sleeping pregnant wife, Lori Hacking, and then covered up the crime by dumping her body and other evidence into trash receptacles.
The Hacking case prompted the 2006 Legislature to raise the penalty for murder from five years to life to 15 years to life.
During Dilmaghanian's sentencing hearing, the victim's father, Steve Harris, lamented that Dilmaghanian had killed his only son, as well as his hopes for having grandchildren.
But he said he would "hope and pray" that she gets needed counseling in prison.
Harris' stepfather, George Reid, said family members have no ill feeling toward Dilmaghanian, "but a price needs to be paid."
Stepbrother Shawn Reid said Dilmaghanian should spend her entire life behind bars.
The stepbrother claimed Dilmaghanian "killed four people that night" because her children - ages 8, 9 and 10 - will "never be the same."
Reid said Dilmaghanian had a temper and often fought with his brother.
"I told Nathan he needed to leave because they argued too much," Reid said. "He said it was part of a healthy relationship. Four days later he was stabbed."
But family members agreed that Dilmaghanian acted out of anger and under the influence of alcohol, rather than intentionally.
Prosecutors say Dilmaghanian stabbed Harris once in the heart with a knife she wore in a scabbard around her neck.
Dilmaghanian became upset with Harris because she felt he had improperly performed a "cleansing ceremony" on another knife, which Harris had recently acquired, according to prosecutors.