Ethan Emanuel Rosenfeld, Who Tried to Plea Insanity, Gets Life for Killing 82-Year-Old Mom

We told you here about opening statements beginning in the trial of Ethan Emanuel Rosenfeld, who tried to argue he was not guilty by reason of insanity for strangling and murdering his 82-year-old widowed mother at the Leisure World home they shared.

That defense did not work for the 52-year-old Laguna Woods man, who today learned his fate.

A judge sentenced Rosenfeld to 25 years to life in state prison.

He was found guilty by a jury May 5 of one felony count of first degree murder, and the same seven days later found that the defendant was sane at the time he strangled his mother Helen to death.

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Some time before 6 a.m. that fateful day--May 30, 2005--Rosenfeld put Helen's dead body in her bed, crossed her arms across her chest, and wrapped her body in a sheet. Unemployed and living in the retirement community with his mother at the time, he then took off with her car and credit card.

He bought chewing tobacco at a gas station and tried to use Helen's card to get a cup of Starbucks coffee before driving around for a while. He then returned home and, at about 10 a.m., called 9-1-1 to report his mother had passed away in her sleep.

"I am left feeling angry, confused, numb, depressed and sick," Catherine Asher, Rosenfeld's sister, told the court today, according to an Orange County District Attorney's Office media statement. "[Helen] meant everything to me--my best friend, my guidance, my emotional support. There is nothing else I can say except my heart has been broken. My mother is gone forever."

Asher went on to ask the court "to please sentence Ethan Rosenfeld to the maximum sentence allowed under the law. I cannot re-write the past, but only hope that this individual not have the chance to impact any other person in the same tragic way he has hurt me and my family."

Helen's other son, Robert Rosenfeld, also addressed the court, saying his mother was a loving, caring, independent woman.

At the conclusion of his statement, he identified himself as Helen's "only son."


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