Houston—A jury has convicted a man in the February 2009 kidnapping and murder of a northwest Harris County woman.
For the past 17 months, family and friends of Sabrina Pina have been waiting. On Wednesday, their wait finally came to an end.
"I think justice was served. Now my wife can rest in peace," said Edward Pina, Sabrina Pina's husband.
Theodore Schmidt was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors said Schmidt kidnapped Pina from a department store parking lot, shot her, and then dumped her body in a ditch. A fingerprint lifted from duct tape used to tie-up Pina led investigators to Schmidt.
"It's the verdict we needed for justice. It doesn't heal anything, it hurts," said Tatiana Armenta, the victim's best friend.
Schmidt sat emotionless in court while his victim's mother, Mary Helen Tolentino read a victim impact statement.
Tolentino said, "You took away a beloved daughter," and spoke of her son-in-laws heartbreak saying, "His heart died with her."
Outside the courtroom, Tolentino thanked the justice system.
"We're able to move forward after today and know that there wouldn't be any possibility of a family enduring our loss," said Mary Helen Tolentino, Sabrina's mother.
Schmidt will spend the rest of his life paying for his crime without the possibility of parole, but in the end it doesn't replace what he took.
"There is never going to be a person like her," said Edward Pina.
The district attorney's office did not seek the death penalty in this case opting instead for an automatic life sentence.