Saturday, November 7, 2009

Man who killed wife to collect on insurance policy sentenced to life without parole

A man who bludgeoned his wife to death in front of their baby boy's crib was sentenced to life without parole by San Bernadino Judge Timothy Freer Friday, November 6. Forty-one year old Kelle Lee Jarka killed his wife of 20 years, 40 year old Isabelle Jarka, in Murrieta, CA, on April 28, 2008 for the $1.3 million in insurance he took out on her.

Jarka claimed he came home after running errands the morning of April 28, 2008, to find his home broken into and his wife -- who had been struck 11 times in the head -- lying face down on the bedroom floor in a pool of blood.

Police concluded the burglary had been staged. Forensic evidence suggested Isabelle was lying in bed asleep when the first blow was struck and that the killer followed her as she crawled across the bedroom floor, continuing to strike her in the head in what prosecutor Burke Strunsky described as "rage-inspired overkill."

The murder weapon was never found. But on Jarka's laptop computer, investigators discovered records of incriminating Internet searches, including "how to medically suffocate" and "how long does a life insurance policy need to be in effect to pay out."

The perp's brother-in-law and childhood friend, Bill Schafer, said that Kelle had been imprisoned based solely on circumstansial evidence and "We believe in his innocence. We are proud of him."

The victim's two sisters, including Laura McGraw, who adopted her dead sister's two kids, said that "All of our dreams have been shattered because of Kelle's arrogance and greed."

The perp's statement to the court was, "Isabelle and I dreamed ... of growing old together. That dream was taken away from us. I maintain my innocence to this day."

Judge Freer said that that statement of innocence even after being found guilty of murder was "astounding," and that the "extreme cruelty" inflicted on the murderer against his wife reflected "chiiling and "disturbing" conduct.

The only true explanation of his conduct, according to Judge Freer, was evil. In Jarka's scheme to kill his wife to get out of debt, "in this court's opinion, he became morally bankrupt."

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