LE CENTER (TEC News) – A hearing where an Elk River man was to be sentenced for the murder of a Kasota woman quickly become more about a family destroyed than his life sentence.
24-year-old Tyler Wicklund today was sentenced to life in prison for the slashing murder of his former girlfriend Jessica Buboltz in October 2010. The pair had a daughter together who was a year-old and present at the time of the murder.
Prior to sentencing, however, several family members and spokespersons gave victim impact statements.
They told a story of a family torn apart by the murder of Jessica.
“The family has been hurt,” said sister Renee Kosek. “A once close knit family has been torn apart.”
Kosek noted that her sister had just graduated with a Medical Assistant degree on October 10, 2010.
19 days later she was dead.
“I struggle every day, “said Kosek. The anger I have towards Tyler has messed with my head.”
Another sister Desaray Buboltz described countless sleepless nights.
“I just keep thinking this is all a nightmare,” Buboltz said. “It’s a nightmare that will never be forgotten, forgiving or fair.”
She added that the day Jessica was murdered was “the day my family stopped being a family.”
“We grew apart and barely see each other,” said Buboltz.
Jean Buboltz described herself as Jessica’s “surrogate mother.”
“I gave her life, Tyler took it away,” said Jean Buboltz.
Jean Buboltz also mentioned the toll on the family, saying every gathering ends up with a discussion on why Jessica is dead.
Best friend Tonia McCollum described Jessica as “fun” and “loveable.”
“Losing her had turned my life upside down,” said McCollum. “I miss her every day.”
The victim’s adoptive mother Dawn Buboltz at first was planning on having someone else read her prepared statement. But as the prosecutor was beginning to speak, she decided to do it herself.
She said she knew something was wrong that morning when her daughter wasn’t answering her cell phone.
The murder “changed my life forever,” said Dawn Buboltz.
She has now moved to another town and has full custody of her granddaughter Emma.
“It’s like raising Jessica all over again,” said Dawn Buboltz.
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Anthony Nerud told the judge that Wicklund “has shown remorse for his decision for this senseless action” from the first time they met.
A sobbing Wicklund told the packed courtroom “how sorry I am to Jessica’s family, to my family and my daughter.”
“My emotions are eating me up inside,” said Wicklund.
“It is my duty to answer any questions from Jessica’s family,” added Wicklund. “I’m on my hand and knees for forgiveness.”
Judge Thomas McCarthy then accepted Wicklund’s plea to First Degree Murder with Intent and Being A Felon in Possession Of A Firearm.
Given credit for the 370 days spent in jail since his arrest, Wicklund was sentenced to life in prison.
Judge McCarthy added it was a mandatory sentence “and one I find appropriate.”
Wicklund was also sentenced to 60 months in prison for the Felon In Possession of A Firearm Charge.
Because the murder charge was not with premeditation, Wicklund could be eligible for parole after serving 30 years.
Wicklund can count on having to face the victim’s sister at that first parole hearing in the year 2041.
Dawn Buboltz says she’ll be at every parole hearing to prevent Wicklund from ever seeing the outside of prison walls again.