When the ex-girlfriend of a murdered Kentucky lawyer, Ryan Poston, heard the recommended 40-year prison sentence for his killer, she was stunned.
“Well, it made me sick to my stomach," Lauren Worley told ABC News' "20/20" in an exclusive interview. "Maybe it’s traditional, old-school mentality, but if you kill someone, then you know, it’s eye for an eye. And what you do unto others should be done unto you.
“She just wanted to take out Ryan and take out everyone that was involved in his life. She blamed everybody but herself," Worley, 28, said of Shayna Hubers, the woman convicted of murdering Poston on Oct. 12, 2012.
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A Kentucky jury recommended Hubers spend 40 years in prison, but a judge has yet to make a final ruling. Hubers must serve at least 20 years in prison and will be eligible for parole after that time is served. A court date has been set for June 15.
Worley met Poston in 2009 at a bar in Cincinnati. Friends said she was the love of his life.
“I thought he was just perfect for her,” Emmy Reinle, Worley’s former roommate, told "20/20."
After Worley and Poston met in 2009, things moved fast for the couple. Worley was studying at Chase Law School near Cincinnati, and Poston had recently graduated from the same school. Before long, the pair shared an apartment and, eventually, two puppies, Lily and Max.
“It was love at first sight. I remember thinking ‘I cannot believe he wants to date me,’” Worley said.
Poston's other passion, Worley said, was guns, a hobby she said made her feel safe.
“He would have one in his boot, in his holster," Worley said. "It was almost like ‘That’s a guy that is a man ... and he can protect.”
Although the couple fell so hard in love in the beginning, they decided to call it quits after a year and a half of dating.
“We were so young, and I was in law school," Worley said. "We broke up always thinking -- in the back of my mind, at least -- that we would end up back together.”
After their break-up, Worley said she and Poston both entered a "rebound" stage and began dating other people. Shayna Hubers became a name that Worley would come to know all too well.
“She used to go places asking everyone if they knew me and if they thought I was prettier than her. It was like she had an obsession, beyond Ryan,” she said.
Worley never thought of the 24-year-old University of Kentucky graduate as someone who would become a permanent fixture in Poston’s life. Worley said Hubers confided once in one of her friends, saying, “There’s Lauren Worley. She ruined my life.”
But Worley believes it was the other way around. While out with friends in October 2012, she would find out Hubers had shot and killed Poston the night before.
Today, Worley lives with constant reminders of Poston when she looks at her dogs, and faces the future with spells of regret.
“I was so close," she said. "I was right there. I wish I would have known or paid attention, because I might have been able to stop it.”
Worley was under subpoena by the prosecution, but was not called to testify. She did find some closure at the verdict. It took the jury just five hours of deliberations to find Hubers guilty of murder.
“I was there when they read it. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life,” Worley said. “And then I just saw: His mom was standing there. I mean, she just immediately stopped what she was doing and grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug.”
While gone, Poston certainly is not forgotten in Worley’s mind.
“I loved Ryan," she said. "I still love Ryan. He’s my lover in the clouds.”