87-year-old murdered and raped, her attacker will now spend decades behind bars

old lady
Source: Adams County District Attorney's Office, Unsplash

May 21 2021, Published 5:31 p.m. ET

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A Pennsylvania man will spend the rest of his life in prison for raping and murdering an 87-year-old woman. 

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Kristopher Zackarias Gartrell recently pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and killing Virginia Barbour, 87, on Nov. 21, 2018. A judge sentenced him to life plus 20 yeas. 

He admitted to breaking into the woman’s home and forcing her to show him where the valuables were before raping and strangling her, according to FOX 43.

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He was arrested two days later in a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, hotel.


Gartrell’s initial charges include second-degree murder, rape, aggravated arson and burglary.

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"The crimes committed by Gartrell are as bad as any we've seen during my time as prosecutor in Adams County," Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett said "This defendant was an absconder from the state of South Carolina after committing sexually violent offenses there and it is tragic that he found his way to our community and took the life of someone so beloved.

"Although this sentencing today ensures that Gartrell will never leave the prison setting alive, it still falls short of being sufficient to atone for the acts that he committed. We hope in some way this provides some small step towards closure for the friends and family of Mrs. Barbour."

Gartrell’s girlfriend at the time, Sheila Schriver, was charged as an accomplice in the case and has a court date set for May 27.


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