Woman sentenced for first-degree murder
Friday, May 23 — After almost 3-1/2 years, some resolution has come in the murder case of an off-duty Susanville police officer.
On Friday, May 23, Joanna Lynne McElrath, 39, was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in state prison for the premeditated and deliberate first-degree murder of her husband, Robert McElrath. She will also pay restitution including $8,912.89 to the victim’s family.
Visiting Judge John T. Ball also granted McElrath the 1,233 days she has spent in custody since her January 2011 arrest.
Robert McElrath’s family and friends filled one side of the courtroom, while members of Joanna McElrath’s family sat on the other.
Those in attendance heard emotional victims’ impact statements from Robert McElrath’s mother, step-mother and sister who shared how his death has affected them and what he meant to their family and community.
Robert McElrath was described as someone who was loyal, had integrity and loved his family and provided for them.
His sister requested the defendant receive life without the possibility of parole.
Samantha McElrath, Joanna McElrath's daughter who Robert McElrath had adopted, and Tish Beckett, the defendant’s mother also spoke.
Samantha McElrath said her mother should not receive the three years credit as part of her sentence.
Joanna McElrath pleaded guilty on Feb. 28 to premeditated and deliberate first-degree murder. She also waived her right to appeal and gave the judge sole discretion to determine if she would receive custody for time already served.
Court proceedings for Robin Glen James, another defendant in the case, continue to move forward and a court hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 11.
See the Tuesday, June 3 edition of the Lassen County Times for the rest of the story.