Hopefully, sentence will bring closure

Tears were shed.

Nightmares were relived.

Sorrow filled Kenai Courthouse's Room 2 on Wednesday as Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran handed down a sentence long overdue. Thirty years ago a woman was killed in Seward and her killer lived freely among us.

With Moran's ruling, Jimmy Eacker will be a feeble old man before he's let out of prison.

A previously overturned sentence would have had Eacker, the man who stabbed Toni Lister 26 times with a screwdriver, die in prison.

Although Eacker showed no remorse for his actions, we can take comfort knowing he must look himself in the mirror everyday. He must live now knowing the whole world knows what he did. He'll have a long time to think about that.

But, make no mistake -- this 20-year sentence isn't adequate punishment for a killer. Perhaps nothing is.

During sentencing, the defense argued Eacker had been rehabilitated, that the man in the chair today was not the man from 1982. That Eacker had perhaps changed his ways, at least according to others, is comforting at some level. But the fact remains he did what he did and he must serve his time.

Perhaps if he is released from jail after serving his sentence he can reenter our society and do some good with his remaining years. He might have a last minute chance at redeeming himself on some level. That would be our hope, all things considered.

But most importantly, we hope the innocent 29-year-old's remaining family can find closure now. We hope the family can overcome and persevere. They must.

Let not memories of Lister's death remain, but rather hold dear the memories of the life she lived.

Said Heather Green, Lister's youngest daughter, "For me to come back, speak and see him, it was a lot of closure for me. Now is the time for us to put (my mother) to rest and know that she's at peace and continue on with our lives."

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