Family Watches as Father's Killer is Sentenced to Life in Prison

It has been a year and three months since a senior citizen was brutally attacked and killed inside a restroom at Sunrise Mall, and on Tuesday, the man responsible was sentenced to life in prison.

That man, 40-year old George Viera, stood before a judge Tuesday morning to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole; but even with the maximum sentence, the family of 76-year old Donald Lenertz, his victim, said the hurt will never go away.

Lenertz would have turned 78 on Thursday.

Pauline, Janet and Debra, three of Lenertz' four daughters, and his granddaughter Samantha, surrounded their mother Yvonne, as they have since that fateful day in December of 2012 when Lenertz was killed.

"He was the backbone of our family," his daughter Pauline Torres said. "He took care of my mom, who has Parkinson's disease. He took care of my little sister, Dawn."

Lenertz' family members appeared in court for the sentencing of their father's assailant, hoping Viera would apologize for what he did.

"I really expected him to get up and apologize for what he did, but him not doing it and having his father having to get up and say it just showed he had no remorse for what he did, and that hurt," Lenertz' daughter Janet Choisnet said. "That really did hurt."

Some would say it's life for a life, but Lenertz' family said there's no way that could be.

"He didn't even have the respect to turn around and say 'I'm sorry I did this,'" Choisnet said.

The tight-knit family said they are satisfied with the sentencing, but say they still have no closure. Four weeks after their father's death, their youngest sister, Dawn, passed away.

"My sister Dawn was deaf, had cerebral palsy and mental retardation, and she missed my dad terribly, and she died of a broken heart, just missing him so much," Torres said.

The District Attorney had considered seeking the death penalty for Viera, had he chose to go to trial. Instead, Viera pleaded guilty to the murder and will live out the rest of his life in prison.


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