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.
- Citrus Heights woman murdered, Roseville woman jailed (Tuesday, March 11, 2008)
A woman whose body was found Monday morning near Walerga Road has been identified and a Roseville woman is in custody for her murder. The victim, Alicia Ernst, 24, (birth date: 05-26-83) of Citrus Heights
- Stephanie Erends arraigned on murder charge (Tuesday, March 18, 2008)
Stephanie N. Erends, who was arrested Monday for the murder of Alicia Ernst, was arraigned last Wednesday on a single charge of murder and is being held without bail in the Placer County Jail in Auburn.
- Roseville Woman Guilty of First Degree Murder (Wednesday, December 09, 2009)
A Placer Countyjury today found a 26-year-old Rosevillewoman guilty of the first-degree murder of her longtime friend, whose throat had been cut and whose body was found lying under a pile of trash on the side of a road in 2008.
Print This Article
Placer County News HeadlinesCalifornia Housing Market: 2015 ForecastRealtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about the recent housing forecast or 2015 released by the California Association or Realtors and where the market is currently.
3 Killed, Alcohol Suspected in Deadly Sacramento CrashOn October 23, 2014 at approximately 2:24 p.m., an unknown male driver was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe on Howe Ave north of Burney Way at an unknown speed.
Nissan Rogue Features Many Enviable ChangesIn effort to attract more male buyers, Nissan reportedly decided to alter the exterior look of the Rogue in its 2014 redesign. Not a bad move. Most men don't
New Nursing Village Ribbon Cutting in RocklinRocklin, CA- Sierra College welcomed their long-running Nursing Program back to the Rocklin campus with a recent Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
Placer County Woman Dies: West Nile Virus ConfirmedPlacer County health officials are able to confirm that an Ophir woman, who passed away earlier this month, did indeed have West Nile Virus (WNV).
3 Teens Arrested in Burglary and Vandalism of Country ClubA Placer County Sheriff's detective apprehended three juveniles Thursday in connection with recent burglaries and acts of vandalism at the Auburn Valley Country Club.
Roseville Author Releases New Book NationwideROSEVILLE, Calif. - The new book "Resonance," a stimulating new book by Roseville author Emily Elaine is now available nationwide.
Genderally Speaking LGBTQ Exhibition in RocklinRocklin, CA--The Ridley Gallery presents "Genderally Speaking", photography by Ron Williams in conjunction with Sierra College Pride Days (November 4-6).
Rocklin History Series Presents Julia Morgan's GoldThe Rocklin History Series continues on November 16, 2014 with a live presentation by Julia Morgan Historian Karen McNeill Ph.D. at 2 pm at the beautiful Old Saint Mary's Chapel
Free Identity Theft Prevention Class in AuburnThe Placer County Sheriff's Office is offering a free identity theft prevention class on Monday, October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn Justice Center.
Loomis Students to Learn About Pediatric Iron Lung for World Polio DayIn recognition of World Polio Day, Rotary Club of Sunset Loomis will bring a pediatric iron lung to Loomis Grammar School and Loomis Basin Charter School
Esteemed Roseville Historian DiesLeonard "Duke" Davis, considered by many the foremost authority on the history of Roseville, passed away on Friday, October 10.