Jerry Westrom sentenced to life in prison for cold case murder

A sketch of several people sitting down.
A courtroom sketch of Jerry Westrom from August, when he was found guilty of the 1993 murder of Jeanne Ann Childs.
Cedric Hohnstadt for MPR News

A Hennepin County judge on Friday sentenced an Isanti, Minn., man to life in prison for a nearly 30-year-old cold case killing.

Jerry Westrom, 56, was convicted in late August of premeditated murder in the 1993 killing of 35-year-old Jeanne Ann Childs, who was found stabbed 65 times in the Minneapolis apartment that she used for sex work.

Two people speak in a building
Betty Eakman, Jeanne Childs' mother, expressed relief in August after jurors convicted Jerry Westrom, 56, of fatally stabbing Childs in 1993.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Investigators in 2018 used a family history website to connect crime scene DNA to Westrom. Detectives confirmed the match after trailing him to a hockey game and pulling a sample of his DNA from a discarded napkin.

At Westrom’s sentencing, Childs' mother Betty Eakman spoke emotionally of the pain of her daughter’s killing and the search for justice.

"I've waited so many years to have this end, and it has put me through so much hell. I'll never forget … and love her the way I always did," Eakman said.

Jerry Arnold Westrom
2019 booking photo for Jerry Arnold Westrom
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

As he sentenced Westrom, Hennepin District Court Judge Juan Hoyos acknowledged Westrom’s family and the case’s impact on their lives. “However,” he told Westrom, “you took Jeanne Childs’ opportunity at a life.”

Westrom did not speak in court Friday. He must serve 30 years before a chance of parole. His attorneys say they plan to appeal. They say others could have killed Childs.

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