HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This has been a long and painful journey for those who loved Karen Ertell.
The Ewa Beach woman was brutally attacked by her neighbor Vernon Bartley nearly three and a half years ago.
Prosecutors say he murdered her because she was going to testify against him in a burglary case.
"To think that she had to die at such an early age in such a cruel, violent way is something that we will never ever be able to put behind us," Karen Ertell's mother Irene Ertell said.
Bartley strangled the 51 year old, had sex with her and used her computer to watch porn.
He also stole her ATM and credit cards, as well as her vehicle.
He was 15 years old at the time.
"I take responsibility for what I did and do whatever time I deserve to do," Bartley said.
"Vernon did not act alone in this murder. Vernon was slim, young, and would not be able to murder the victim alone," Vernon Bartley's father Petello Bartley said.
Bartley made a deal with prosecutors for a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
As part of the agreement, he cannot appeal the guilty verdict.
"Vernon, I don't hate you, and I'm not even angry anymore. But I'm very sad," Karen Ertell's sister Robyn Dunlap said.
In court, the judge granted the prosecution's request for consecutive term sentencing. So Bartley must first serve a 10-year term before starting the longer sentence.
"I feel the pain in their heart. If I was in their position, I would do the same thing, but I'm truly sorry for what I've done," Bartley said.
"I loved Karen with all my heart. She was the most loving and kind person I've ever known," Karen Ertell's boyfriend Kevin Callahan said.
Prosecutors plan to ask the parole board for an extremely high minimum sentencing, hoping that Bartley will spend the rest of his life in prison.