HARRISONVILLE, Mo. - The family of a Harrisonville woman murdered five years ago by a retired Grandview police officer finally has some relief.
Jeffrey Moreland will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
It was a tense morning in court Monday as Cara Jo Robert's mother, Theresa Matthews, looked straight into the eyes of the man who murdered her daughter and told him "You ruined my life, you ruined my family's lives and the emotional impact you have caused will be felt for years", Matthews said fighting back the tears.
In court, Moreland quietly listened as the judge read his sentence. He swayed back and forth from Parkinson's disease, but refused any last words.
Back in 2008, the retired police officer sexually assaulted Roberts in her Harrisonville home before killing her. The 30-year-old mother was home alone putting together a toddler bed for her son, Carter, the day Moreland killed her.
The case was cold for three years until a print left on a roll of duct tape left at the crime scene matched to another murder in Jackson County.
Moreland is also charged in that crime, in which 75-year-old Nina Whitney was stabbed 22 times and strangled. Her body was found last year at her home in south Kansas City.
Moreland is also scheduled to appear in court on a third charge, for rape.
Monday, the Roberts family wiped back tears as they looked at Moreland for the last time, and the victim's mother offered some final words: "I wanted him to know that he is an animal for what he did to my daughter. That's basically what I tried to express," Matthews said.
Now Roberts' husband is raising their son on his own and struggling with how to tell the young boy about what happened to his mother. "I've thought about telling him a lot but I don't know what I'm going to tell him. He has a box at home with all the articles about his mom, and it's there for him when it's time," Jeff Roberts said.
Moreland was sentenced to life in prison without parole for first degree murder and an additional 50 years for armed criminal action.
"It's been a long time coming," Jeff Roberts said.