25 to Life for Stephanie Erends
In an emotionally-charged hearing in a Placer County courtroom today, Stephanie Nicole Erends of Roseville was sentenced to state prison for 25 years to life without possibility of parole for the brutal murder of her best friend in 2008.
The term imposed by Placer County Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols means that Erends, 26, will spend the rest of her life in prison.
Erends was found guilty on Dec. 9 by a trial jury of first-degree murder in the throat-slashing death of her longtime friend, Alicia Ernst, 24, of Citrus Heights.
The jury also found that a special allegation that Erends was “lying in wait” was true. That allegation enhanced the penalty to life in prison without parole.
Family members of both the victim and the defendant gave tearful statements to the court. In addition, Erends interrupted the prosecutor, Garen Horst, as he was recapping the crime by telling him to “shut up.”
Erends’ outburst drew a verbal reprimand from Judge Nichols, who also had to remind the defendant’s grandmother not to talk about the trial itself when she was giving a statement about her granddaughter to the court.
Alicia Martens, the victim’s mother, told the court that Ernst was “my best friend. I loved her with all my heart.”
She had unkind words for Erends, calling her a “cancer” who spread ugliness.
“Stephanie Erends, I will never forgive you,” she told her.
After the statements, Nichols said the crime had caused “the devastation of two families.”
“This has been very difficult for you,” she told them. “I can’t imagine your suffering.”
During the trial, Horst, the prosecutor, contended that Erends murdered her friend out of jealousy and resentment stemming from presumed insults and a belief that Ernst may have had an affair with one of Erends’ former boyfriends.
Horst introduced evidence and called witnesses to prove that Erends killed Ernst in a surprise attack during the early morning hours of March 8, 2008, as the two were in a parked car on a remote section of Walerga Road near Roseville.
After being arrested several days later, Erends confessed to detectives of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department that she went into the back seat of the car, got a razor-sharp cutting tool that she’d planted there and, from behind, began slashing at Ernst, who was seat-belted in the front passenger seat.
After the attack, Erends pulled the body from the car, tried to cut the victim’s fingers off to prevent fingerprint identification, poured ammonia on the victim and then tossed garbage from the side of the road on top of the body to keep it from being discovered.
During the trial, recordings of Erends’ interviews with the detectives were played to the jury, which was also provided with transcripts.
Erends, who had hoped for a jury verdict of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a far less sentence, testified in the trial and tried to recant the incriminating statements she had given to the detectives.
She denied planning the attack, saying she had reacted in anger as she and Ernst sat in the car at about 3:30 a.m. Erends said she confronted her friend over making fun of her several hours earlier at the home of Ernst’s boyfriend.
She said the two began fighting and pulling each other’s hair in the front seat and that she reached into a door panel for the scraping tool and began slashing at Ernst but did not intend to kill her.
Erends said she panicked after realizing what she had done and tried to cover up the crime. She said she initially gave detectives the more incriminating story about planning the crime because she felt it was what the investigators wanted to hear and because she felt guilty about what she had done.
Horst thanked Sheriff’s Detectives Don Murchison and Christina Woo for their thorough investigation into the crime.
“They were instrumental in the success of the prosecution and in determining the truth about what happened,” Horst said.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesLife Time Athletic Roseville: Rob Chemaly Named GMHealth and fitness industry veteran Rob Chemaly has been named General Manager of Life Time Athletic Roseville.
Roseville Liquor Store Robbed by GunmanThe Roseville Police Department is asking for the public's help identifying a man who robbed a liquor store and pepper-sprayed the clerk.
Good News for FHA BorrowersRealtor, Julie Jalone, of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about the recent lowering of the FHA mortgage insurance premiums.
United Auburn Indian Community Invests in Danny Wimmer PresentsDanny Wimmer Presents one of the largest independent producers of destination rock music festivals in the U.S., announced today that it has received a significant investment from the United Auburn Indian Community Development Corp.
Roseville Offers Up Cash for GrassThe City of Roseville is offering up for $1,000 for your grass when converting water-thirsty turf with water smart landscaping
Invented Abundance by Mollie Oblinger in RocklinThe Ridley Gallery at Sierra College presents Invented Abundance, an exhibition of sculpture in which Mollie Oblinger examines California's water issues in response to the historic drought
Rocklin Resident Exhibition at Alex Bult GalleryIn February, The Alex Bult Gallery welcomes emerging artist and long-time Rocklin resident Timothy Mulligan in his first solo exhibition entitled Raw, Real & Reimagined.
50 Days of the Dead: Tennessee JedThe Dead return for a memorable performance on their home turf of Palo Alto in October of 1982 to play Frost Amphitheatre.
New California Laws for 2015 (Part 29)New California laws for 2015, part 29 includes finance lenders, vehicle registration, state teachers retirement, veterans, prepackaged food, dismissal criminal action and more.
Safeway and Albertsons' Merger Set to CloseAB Acquisition LLC (Albertsons) and Safeway Inc. today announced that they have received clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the companies' proposed merger
Placer County Unemployment Rate Hits 5.2 PercentPlacer County's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent during December, reaching its lowest point since 2007.
50 Days of the Dead: Loser1990 seems like yesterday, but far from it. Stellar version of Loser in Albany,NY.
NEWS: In Case You Missed It