ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – Nearly 22 months after a southern Utah father was kidnapped from his home, beaten and killed, someone involved was sentenced Tuesday in St. George.
Tammy Renee Freeman, who pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and burglary, was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison along with a $10,000 restitution.
“The first emotion is just no justice. And I don’t think there ever will be,” said David Heisler’s stepmom Debbie Heisler.
Many tears in Tuesday’s courtroom as David Heisler’s parents read an emotional statement asking: ‘Where is David’s justice?’ Saying they know their son ‘begged for his life.’
“He doesn’t get a plea deal, he doesn’t get a say. We’ve had to relinquish parts of his body for identification, for evidence, we’ve had to do so much to prove these cases, it’s just difficult,” said Debbie.
Freeman is accused of driving Francis McCard and Kelly Perry, the mother of David’s then 6-year-old daughter, to David’s Santa Clara home where he was kidnapped.
David was taken to the desert on the Utah-Arizona strip. His decomposed body found seven weeks later.
In February, Freeman accepted a plea deal, and in exchange her first degree felony charges were reduced to second degree felony charges.
“She had an opportunity to save his life, and she chose not to use it,” said Debbie.
Freeman apologized to David’s family, saying she is a mother, and her ‘heart goes out to them,’ that she is not a threat to society, and says she prays for David’s now 8-year-old daughter every day.
Debbie and her husband are now raising their granddaughter.
“She is still undergoing counseling and probably will be for many years of her life,” said Debbie.
David’s family has been setting up a non-profit in their son’s name. The Blue Butterfly House will soon open; offering a safe place for children to visit with their non-custodial parents.
David had received full custody of his daughter two weeks before his murder.
The Heisler family gave News4Utah the part of the Victim Impact statement that was read in Court by Debbie Heisler. It reads:
“As for my husband and I we don’t understand. Francis McCard reached a plea deal, 75 years between Federal and State prison. Knowing his time in Federal Prison will be enough before he dies. That’s what he wanted and moved to an offer because of it.
Tammy Freeman reaches a plea deal and a very lucrative one for her. Her first degree charges reduced to second degree in an effort to serve the less time possible. She will be out in the general public in not too many years.
Kelley Perry will likely reach a plea deal with a minimal amount of time to avoid a trial and serving the rest of her life in prison. She should never get out, but will.
Our son did not have a chance to reach a plea deal with anyone! We know he begged for his life, he was out in the desert in triple degree weather with no water, no shoes and no shelter. Who knows how badly he was beaten, shot or what else happened to him or if he was dead when they dropped him off there. What could have gone through his mind? How he had to suffer 1, 2 maybe 3 days and the horror that would be going through him. The fear that he felt when they broke into our home and started assaulting him, tying him up and covering his face, putting him in his own car and taking him to wherever, because he would not have known. Firing the gun and whatever else we can ascertain from these individuals that did not want to get caught.”
Did they give him a chance? Did they come clean in time to save him? Did Tammy Freeman, who maintained no knowledge of what occurred ever come forward? The answer is NO and we have to live with never knowing the truth, because the 3 individuals that did this will never tell the truth they just cover up with their lies. Our nightmares will never go away knowing that he suffered beyond all comprehension. Anyone that takes part in the suffering of another human being like that should never walk away from it with their own life in tact, it’s too hard to comprehend.
We couldn’t have an open casket service, we had to relinquish parts of his body to provide evidence to the case, we had to let anthropologists dissect his bones to determine his cause of death and to this day they could not tell, so we live with the thought that he suffered so terribly at the hands of these 3 that is is incomprehensible that they get off with pleas of any type. Where is David’s justice? They all should receive the maximum allowed by law and not a minute sooner. We hope that the court will see to it that this is the case for each of them, because David’s sentence was permanent and ours is as well.”