Sherry Arnold, a schoolteacher who was murdered in Montana in 2012, has been mourned by those who knew her, but none more so than her husband. Gary Arnold says he can’t sleep or eat since trying to adjust to life without his wife and wrote a letter which was read aloud in court this week as Lester Van Waters was handed a sentence.
50-year old Waters told authorities that he and his friend, Michael Keith Spell, traveled to Montana from Colorado to look for work and were allegedly using cocaine during the trip, which Waters said “brought out the devil” in him. The two men reportedly talked about kidnapping and killing a woman along the way, and when they saw Arnold jogging alone, they grabbed her. The 43-year old teacher was asphyxiated during the struggle, but the men say they aren’t sure which one of them actually killed her. Spell has yet to be sentenced, but Waters was given 100 years with 20 years suspended. He pleaded guilty to the murder last year in order to avoid the death penalty.
Arnold’s body was found buried months after her disappearance in a rural area in North Dakota. Waters apologized to her husband, Gary, in court this week, but for the man who shared his life with her, it was too late.
“It’s too late, it’s after the fact. It doesn’t change a thing,” he said.
Spell has also pleaded guilty to homicide, but it’s unclear when his sentencing will be.