Jarka trial: (JW) Murrieta man sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder of wife
The prosecutor described Jarka as a man so enamored with his upper-middle-class lifestyle and position within his congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that he was willing to sacrifice the life of his loving wife to maintain it.
Kelle Lee Jarka sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for bludgeoning wife
Special to the Valley News
Thursday, November 5 th , 2009.
Issue 45, Volume 9.
Story Last Updated : Today.
MURRIETA - A Murrieta man who bludgeoned his wife to death to cash in on the life insurance policy he bought for her was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Kelle Lee Jarka, 41, was convicted in September of murdering his 40-year-old wife, Isabelle, with whom he had two children. He maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the conviction.
Isabelle Jarka was found dead in an upstairs bedroom at their Tamarisk Street home on April 28, 2008.
Jarka told authorities someone had broken in while he was out buying baby formula and coffee.
Because Jarka was found to have committed the crime for financial gain, he was eligible for the death penalty, but the District Attorney's Office opted to seek life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In sentencing Jarka, Judge Timothy Freer said the defendant was, "pure evil."
Jarka insisted he was innocent and wept as he spoke of his love for his family and the horror of coming home and finding his wife dead in their home.
"Tragically, I've been accused of this horrendous crime, and that sickens me," he said. "I experienced the worst thing ever in my life. Coming home and finding my wife, my love, murdered."
Bill Schafer, who is married to Jarka's sister, said his side of the family and some of his Jehovah's Witness friends believe the wrong man was prosecuted.
"He's been accused of a terrible crime. He did not commit it," Schafer said. "The sad part (is) the person who did this is still out there."
Across the aisle from where Schafer and other Jarka supporters sat, the victim's family wept.
"This is the result of the selfish greed of an animal," said the victim's sister, Maritza Trelak.
Another sister, Laura McGraw, who adopted Jarka's teenager daughter and toddler son, called Jarka "materialistic" and a "monster."
"I hope that every day you feel like that piece of trash you are," she told her brother-in-law.
Freer said the evidence was overwhelming.
"This was a murder of extreme cruelty ... deeply personal," the judge said.
He noted that Isabelle Jarka was struck so hard and so often that her skull was crushed, and that the probation report, which said that police found no blood on Jarka's clothing or the murder weapon, indicated a high degree of "planning, sophistication and premeditation."
An autopsy determined the victim was struck on the head 11 times. The murder weapon, thought to be a blunt object, was never found.
Police became suspicious of Jarka in part because it wasn't until 30 seconds into his 911 call that he said his wife might be dead.
The defense contended that Jarka was trying not to say those words in front of their daughter and the victim's mother, to whom he had brought the baby after supposedly finding his wife.
Investigators believe Jarka killed his wife because she was thinking of leaving him and the couple was deep in debt, although Schafer said today that the defendant had more than $100,000 in assets.
I know of a case like this.
The husband went to a fast food place, but since he didn't go to the one that was a block away, and went to the one that was a few blocks away, he became the prime suspect. He was convicted and later, quite a few years later, someone else confessed to the crime.
I hope there was alot more evidence than the quoted article mentions.