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.
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.
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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