Richard Gustav Forsberg got into an argument with his wife of nearly 40 years, beat her head with a small statue until she was dead, decapitated and dismembered her, stowed her remains in two freezers, trucked the freezers to a Ventura County campsite, burned the body parts and all the while lied to neighbors, friends, family and cops about her whereabouts.
For that, the 64-year-old was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison, which doesn't seem nearly long enough.
True, at 64, this means the former Coastline Community College computer manager will not be eligible to seek parole until he's 79, presuming his conviction or sentence are not overturned on appeal. And if he does seek parole, a state board could always deny it, guaranteeing Forsberg will not leave prison alive.
The sentence comes courtesy of a Santa Ana jury this past Dec. 10 finding Forsberg guilty of one felony count of second-degree murder.
The Forsbergs were college sweethearts who had been described as a happy couple anxious to celebrate their upcoming 40th wedding anniversary. But he killed 60-year-old Marcia Ann Forsberg, a well-liked writer for community newspapers and magazines, on Feb. 9, 2010. A few days later, he turned her remains into ashes at Lake Piru Recreation Area.
For days and weeks and months after that, the husband gave ever-changing stories about where his wife had gone, including saying she was convalescing following an illness, visiting family in Arizona or had temporarily separated from him due to marital problems. Once family and friends started talking among themselves about the divergent excuses given for the woman's disappearance, a missing persons report was filed with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Forsberg first lied to investigators but sensing where this all was going he sent a confession letter to detectives and then went missing. He turned in a hospital up near Palm Springs after attempting suicide.
He is not the only person forever wounded by his sick actions because while he took the life of a beloved daughter, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor and co-worker, he also prevented those loved ones from laying her to rest.
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"I speak on behalf of my 86-year-old grieving and emotionally shattered mother, I speak for my bewildered distant family members, and also on behalf of my sister's wonderful and loyal lifelong friends, all of whom struggle to make any sense of your senseless act of murder," said the late woman's brother in a victim impact statement to the court (via the Orange County District Attorney's office).
"You have stolen something very precious from each and every one of us," he continued. "Your actions to deceive us and eliminate all traces of your wife of 40 years are truly unforgivable to any society. You now have every minute for the rest of your life to realize the pain you inflicted on Marcia is equal to the pain her mother, her brother, and her friends will feel everyday of their lives as well."
Fifteen years . . . nope, doesn't seem long enough at all.