SANTA ANA (AP) – A former Westminster resident and one-time college district administrator was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of his wife, after he dismembered her body and tried to burn it in a campfire, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
After reporting deadlocks last Thursday and earlier Monday, the Superior Court jury agreed to convict Richard Gustav Forsberg after the prosecutor withdrew a first-degree murder charge.
The former Coast Community College District administrator recently living in Rancho Santa Margarita had a long-troubled marriage before he argued with his wife, Marcia Ann Forsberg on Feb. 9, 2010, and clubbed her several times with a goddess statue when she turned her back, prosecutors said.
Forsberg kept her body in their home and decapitated and dismembered her body over the next few days.
He bought two freezers, rented a recreational vehicle and took the parts of her frozen body to a campground at Lake Piru Recreation Area in Ventura County. He disposed of her by burning the dismembered parts of her body.
The body was not found; Forsberg confessed the details to police.
Forsberg’s attorney Calvin Schneider said the verdict was probably appropriate, and the jury worked hard on the case in their nine hours of deliberation.
“I think the finding of second degree murder is one of the charges that’s consistent with the facts of the case,’’ said Schneider, adding that he had asked for voluntary manslaughter. “There’s no victory here. This lady lost her life and her husband ruined his life in a moment of rage and haste.’’
He faces a maximum of 15 years to life in prison at sentencing Feb. 1, 2013.