Richard Gustavo Forsberg, the Rancho Santa Margarita man whose ever-changing stories about the whereabouts of his wife of nearly 40 years led to a homicide investigation, was convicted this morning in Orange County Superior Court. The jury found the 63-year-old guilty of second-degree murder in the 2010 case where authorities believe Marcia Ann Forsberg, 60, had her head smashed in with a statuette before her body was burned near a Ventura County campground.
Richard Forsberg, who'd worked as the Coastline Community College computer manager, showed little emotion as the verdict was read. His wife's body has never been found.
The Forsbergs were said by friends to be the perfect couple, but in February 2010 some of those same friends and neighbors wondered what happened to Marcia, a writer for community newspapers and magazines. Richard first said she was ill with allergies, then the story changed to her visiting friends in Arizona, followed by the husband calling her absence the result of a marital separation.
Eventually, a friend filed a missing
report with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, whose investigators were told by Richard in August 2010 he had not seen or
heard from Marcia since she left for Arizona the previous March. Deputies returned with a search warrant, but Richard was now missing, as was Marcia's car. He later turned up in a Palm Springs hospital recovering from a sleeping pill overdose.
Prosecutors told jurors in Santa Ana the Forsbergs got into an argument on Feb. 9, 2010, that ended with Richard grabbing a small statuette in their home and hitting Marcia several times in the head until she was dead. Over the next few days, he chopped off his beloved's head and limbs and bought
two freezers to store the body parts that he would drive in a rented RV
to Ventura County for disposal. The couple had met while attending community college in Ventura.
Despite Richard Forsberg having pleaded not guilty, the key piece of evidence against him was a taped confession. The jury reportedly deadlocked 10-2 twice in favor of conviction on
first-degree murder, which comes with it a maximum sentence of 25 years
to life in state prison. Forsberg is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life, meaning he'd have to serve at least 15 years behind bars before he can request a parole hearing.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.