O.C. man gets 15 years to life for killing, dismembering wife

A college computer manager on Friday was sentenced to 15 years to life for beating his wife to death with a statue, decapitating and dismembering her body, then burning her remains in a Ventura County campground, prosecutors said.

Richard Gustav Forsberg, 64, was found guilty in December of second-degree murder for the death of his longtime wife, a former Daily Pilot feature writer.

Forsberg got into an argument with Marcia Ann Forsberg -- his wife of 39 years -- in their Rancho Santa Margarita home in February 2010, the Orange County district attorney's office said. 

At the sentencing hearing on Friday, the woman’s brother read an impact statement 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,” he said.

“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....”

Prosecutors say that Forsberg, a computer manager at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, grabbed a small statue and hit his wife on the head, killing her.

He decapitated and dismembered her body over the next several days, then rented an RV and purchased two freezers to stow the remains, prosecutors say.

Forsberg then drove to a campground at Lake Piru Recreation Area in Ventura County and burned her body parts.

Forsberg told his wife’s friends that the two were having marital problems and that she had left town.

Six months after her disappearance, friends reported her missing.

After lying to investigators, prosecutors said, Forsberg realized he would be caught, so he sent a confession letter to detectives outlining the murder. He was arrested at a hospital after an apparent suicide attempt.

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Nicole Santa Cruz.

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