After years of heartache, relatives of homicide victim Cari Farver now have many of the answers they sought, though big questions remain.
“We’d still like to know exactly what happened and where my daughter ended up so we could take care of her,” said Farver’s mother, Nancy Raney.
Farver’s killer, Shanna Golyar, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole for the November 2012 murder of Farver, who was 37. For years after the murder, Golyar posed as Farver in fake emails and Facebook accounts to cover up her crime.
“She terrorized too many people,” Raney said. “She needs to be off the streets. She needs to have the sentence (life) that she gave everyone else. My grandson will never see his mother again.”
Golyar, 42, sat stone-faced throughout Tuesday’s sentencing hearing and didn’t address the court.
She was convicted in May of first-degree murder and second-degree arson after her 10-day trial.
Douglas County District Judge Timothy Burns also sentenced Golyar to 18 to 20 years for the arson charge, which stemmed from a fire Golyar set in her own home in August 2013. Her attorney, Scott Sladek, an assistant public defender, unsuccessfully argued that the arson sentence should run at the same time as the life sentence.
Prosecutors said Golyar killed Farver after Farver left the apartment of a man Golyar had dated.
Both Farver’s son, Max Farver, and Raney testified that they received messages from Golyar, who used Farver’s phone and created a fake Facebook profile under Farver’s name.
Raney also got a message from the fake profile on Mother’s Day 2014. The possibility that Farver was still alive tortured her family.
“What some people are capable of has always astounded and mystified this court,” Judge Burns said Tuesday. When he delivered his verdict in May, Burns said Golyar had spun a “twisted plot of lies, deceit and impersonations through digital messaging” to keep Farver alive online and distract authorities.
“Cari Farver did not voluntarily disappear and drop off the face of the earth,” Burns said then. “Very sadly, she was murdered.”
Prosecutors relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, especially 13 graphic emails they say Golyar sent while posing as someone else. The emails offered detailed information about a slaying that only the killer would know — a confession, the state argued.
Authorities said they think the murder occurred on Nov. 13, 2012, in Douglas County.
Raney said she “couldn’t thank enough” the authorities who made the case against Golyar. Detectives from Iowa and Nebraska pursued the case.
Farver disappeared from Omaha but lived in Macedonia, Iowa. Golyar moved to Council Bluffs, then Persia, Iowa, after setting fire to her own Omaha home.
After Tuesday’s sentencing, Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle said, “In my 20-plus years of doing this job, this is one of the most calculated and bizarre cases I’ve ever seen.”
Even in Golyar’s presentencing letter to the court, Beadle said, the defendant refused to take responsibility for her actions.
“She lacked empathy and she lacked remorse,” Beadle said. “She was still making excuses.”
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