La Pine man, 86, gets life term for killing wife

Victim's family happy he'll spend rest of days behind bars

La Pine man's murder sentence pleases victim's family

BEND, Ore. - After days of witness testimony for the prosecution, 911 recordings and other disturbing evidence, the Lawrence Loeffler murder trial is over.

"Due to your health, I don't know how long you are going to live," Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Adler told Loeffler at Wednesday's sentencing. "But I do know you're going to spend the remainder of your life in prison."

During the sentencing, Betty Jane Loeffler's daughter and granddaughter read emotional statements to the courtroom.

"She was my best friend for 61 years," said Betty's daughter, Holly Heimbruch. "She was my person I leaned on."

Betty's granddaughter, Jennifer Rios, also spoke about Betty: "I will miss her raw fries that she made for me and her pancakes. I will miss every single thing about her."

Sharing memories and for the first time Betty's voice, from a saved voice mail.

"It's a beautiful day here, sunny and 40 degrees," Betty Loeffler said in the voice mail. "Hope you're having a nice day with your family there."

Through it all, Lawerence Loeffler remained emotionless in his wheelchair at the defense table.

"Your wife was a loyal, caring wife, for 39 years, and at age 83 was still devoting her life to caring for you," Adler told Loeffler.

A difficult week behind them, Betty's family said they find some happiness knowing Loeffler will spend the rest of his days behind bars.

"Of course, I'm going to miss her," said Heimbruch. "But I feel so connected to this new family, that they know her so well, and it always makes me feel so good how well they represented her."

Rios said, "I'm going to choose to not live in the shadows any more, and look towards the light, because that's where she would want me to be."

The defense offered no evidence or witnesses during the four-day trial.

Adler told Loeffler Wednesday that in his 16 years on the bench, he has never seen a trial like this: "You executed your wife."

Loeffler cannot seek parole for 25 years; by then, he would be 111.

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