Family and friends of Glenda Furch cheered the conviction and life sentence Thursday of the man authorities say killed the 51-year-old automobile assembly worker last year.
Yet they left a Tarrant County courtroom without the ultimate answer they had sought from Ms. Furch's killer, Rodney Owens: the location of her body.
In victim impact statements after Mr. Owens was sentenced, Ms. Furch's daughter, Shimon Furch, spoke directly to her mother's murderer.
"You will see her face when you close your eyes," Shimon Furch said. "They talk about you being rehabilitated. That starts with you being honest with yourself and with this family and tell us where our mother is."
Mr. Owens, 41, did not look away as the emotional woman addressed him, her voice trembling.
"You will never have peace," she said.
Glenda Furch was last seen Sept. 28, 2007, leaving the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington where she worked. Police said she stopped for gasoline near her apartment in the Woodhaven neighborhood of East Fort Worth. Her car was later found burned at an abandoned Dallas carwash.
Mr. Owens, prosecutors said, was Ms. Furch's former neighbor in Woodhaven. They contend he killed Ms. Furch and then methodically cleaned her apartment.
But some evidence was left at the crime scene, including his fingerprints and DNA.
After a two-day trial this week, a Tarrant County jury convicted Mr. Owens of murder Thursday morning. The same jury sentenced him to the maximum of life in prison a few hours later.
"He has a reckless disregard for life," said Rainey Webb, an assistant district attorney for Tarrant County. "He has disposed of the body of a mother, grandmother, daughter and a sister."
Ms. Webb and co-prosecutor Bob Gill portrayed Mr. Owens as a violent man, prone to outbursts and driven by revenge.
On Thursday, Mr. Owens' former girlfriend told jurors she had endured violence during their 12-year relationship. Nekisha Baldwin was the first witness to testify in the punishment phase of Mr. Owens' trial. She said he stalked her, threatened her with a shotgun and once rammed her car with another vehicle.
Her relationship with Mr. Owens was marred by outbursts that ended with a contrite Mr. Owens promising to control his rage.
"I don't think change is in him," Ms. Baldwin said. "He likes controlling. He couldn't change for a long period of time."
Mr. Owens' attorney, Mark Rosteet, did not call any witnesses during the trial. He did ask jurors for a short prison term. "I'm pleading for understanding. I'm pleading for rehabilitation. I'm pleading for reason that we overcome a wasted past and a wasted future," Mr. Rosteet said. "Reason, judgment and understanding sends a message of hope."
But prosecutors were quick to blast any suggestion of leniency for Mr. Owens, who they said embarked on a monthlong crime spree after killing Ms. Furch.
"Rehabilitation is out of the question," Mr. Gill said. "He has earned the right to be taken from our society."