Gloria Redmann will spend six and a half years in prison for killing her boyfriend Michael Ahlstrom and leaving his body wrapped in a tarp outside their Deer Park home in late 2016.
“My condolences to his family,” Redmann said Wednesday during her sentencing hearing in Spokane County Superior Court.
On her forehead was smeared ash, for Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent. “Me and Michael had planned a life together. And that was cut short,” she said.
Redmann, 63, pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea deal. She had been charged with murder.
“This day came, she’s admitted guilt,” said Judge Annette Plese, addressing upset friends and family. “That is one step towards moving on, hopefully.”
The plea deal and jail time frustrated the family of the 54-year-old Ahlstrom, who was shot in the chest in November 2016 at Redmann’s Deer Park home. She left his body in her driveway. It was discovered days later by a group of people who agreed to help Redmann move items from her yard into her truck.
Ahlstrom’s daughter spoke fast and became flustered, saying she didn’t prepare anything beforehand because the plea and sentencing were so unexpected.
“When I heard the time frame for the sentence, it honestly kind of blew me away,” she said. “It’s just, so obviously she’s the one who killed him and is getting a short time.”
Michael Ahlstrom’s ex-wife, Kelly Schwartz, who alerted authorities in late November 2016 that she hadn’t heard from Ahlstrom in several days, also expressed frustration with what she considered to be a light sentence.
“She took so much from so many people,” she said. “And then lied about it. And let him lay there.”
Ahlstrom was eventually found by detectives after several witnesses reported seeing what they believed to be hair and a pair of men’s shoes underneath a tarp in Redmann’s driveway. In reponse to a 911 call, court records say, a deputy arrived at the home, which is when Redmann admitted it was Ahlstrom dead on her property.
Redmann told the deputy that Ahlstrom came over a few nights before and was “causing problems,” so she called a friend who “said he would take care of it,” records say. Detectives found Ahlstrom laying on top of an antique ironing board, with signs that he’d been dead for several days.
Redmann was immediately arrested and held on charges of making false statements to an officer and failure to notify the medical examiner of a death. She was charged a month later on Dec. 22, 2016 with second-degree murder.
Ahlstrom’s son, David Ahlstrom, said he considered his dad his best friend, someone he looked up to and someone who was constantly looking after the people he loved.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I just don’t understand why.”
Ahlstrom’s autopsy showed he died from a gunshot wound to his chest from a .22-caliber bullet, which punctured his lung and heart and became lodged in his spine.
In Redmann’s home, detectives found several loaded weapons, including a Walther semi-automatic pistol, and a carpet that had “obviously been cleaned and treated,” records say. DNA testing on the carpet, pad and area below revealed Ahlstrom’s blood.
Redmann and several members of Redmann’s family criticized the investigation by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Theresa Pepion, Redmann’s younger sister, said she looked up to Redmann, even after the accusations.
As did Lita Pepion, her other sister.
“I don’t know what happened, and I’m sorry it happened,” she said. “I’m sorry there was so much loss. Only whoever was there knows what happened.”
With credit for time served, Redmann is likely to be released in 2024. She’s been ordered to pay about $6,000 in restitution and court fees.
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