For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE
FOR MURDERING, DECAPITATING,
AND DISMEMBERING WIFE OF 39 YEARS
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for murdering his wife of 39 years and then decapitating and dismembering her after an argument in their Rancho Santa Margarita home. Richard Gustav Forsberg, 64, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 10, 2012, of one felony count of second degree murder.
On Feb. 9, 2010, the defendant got into a verbal argument with his wife Marcia Ann Forsberg. Forsberg grabbed a small statue and hit the victim multiple times in the head, murdering her. He kept her body in their home and decapitated and dismembered her body over the next few days.
The defendant rented a recreational vehicle (RV) and bought two new freezers. He put the victim’s dismembered body in the freezers and used the RV to drive the freezers to a campground at Lake Piru Recreation Area in Ventura County. He disposed of the victim by burning the dismembered parts of her body.
When questioned by friends about the whereabouts of his wife, Forsberg claimed that they were having marital problems and that she had left town to be on her own. On Aug. 24, 2010, concerned friends of the victim reported her missing. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) investigated this case.
During the course of the investigation, Forsberg lied to OCSD investigators about his wife’s whereabouts. When the defendant realized that he would be caught lying, he sent a confession letter to detectives outlining the murder. Forsberg was arrested at the hospital after attempting suicide.
Today at Forsberg’s sentencing, the victim’s brother’s impact statement was read to the court, “I speak on behalf of my 86-year-old grieving and emotionally shattered mother, I speak for my bewildered distant family members, and also on behalf of my sister’s wonderful and loyal lifelong friends, all of whom struggle to make any sense of your senseless act of murder. You have stolen something very precious from each and every one of us… Your actions to deceive us and eliminate all traces of your wife of 40 years are truly unforgivable to any society…You now have every minute for the rest of your life to realize the pain you inflicted on Marcia is equal to the pain her mother, her brother, and her friends will feel everyday of their lives as well.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.