If Ezra McCandless follows the rules for the next 50 years, there is a chance she may not spend the rest of her life in prison for killing her ex-boyfriend.
Those were the words of Dunn County Judge James Peterson on Friday as he sentenced the Stanley woman to life in prison with the possibility to petition for extended supervision after 50 years.
McCandless, 22, was found guilty in November of first-degree intentional homicide in the 2018 death of Alexander Woodworth, 24.
Authorities found Woodworth dead in a vehicle in the town of Spring Brook on March 23, 2018. An investigation determined Woodworth had been stabbed 16 times. The defense argued it was in self defense.
Peterson said the jury’s verdict indicated they didn’t believe the self-defense argument and found an intent to kill. Peterson called it a brutal homicide that McCandless did not appear remorseful for during the duration of the trial.
The long sentence spares Woodworth’s parents and some family from having to go through possible petition hearings, Peterson said, adding a lesser sentence wouldn’t align with the seriousness of an intentional homicide conviction.
McCandless’ attorney, Deja Vishny, asked for mercy from the judge, but not leniency. Vishny asked Peterson to allow the opportunity for another judge to look at the case in the future, asking for a chance of petitioning for release some day.
Vishny said McCandless had lived an exemplary life except for that incident, saying she’s not a serial killer or a cold person without feelings. The defense argued McCandless has shown remorse, having talked about betraying the ones she loves and not dismissing her actions, Vishny said.
The prosecution argued that no matter the length of time in prison, McCandless would be a threat to the public and it would be inappropriate to allow the opportunity to petition for extended supervision.
Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf cited McCandless’ actions after Woodworth’s death, including staging the crime scene, not calling for help and lying to investigators, as reasons for a lifetime sentence without the chance to petition for extended supervision.
Nodolf said the defense portrayed McCandless as the victim in the case, and said McCandless still shows no remorse.
“This is a woman who’s blamed everyone else for her actions,” Nodolf said.
With a chance to speak, McCandless apologized to Woodworth’s family, specifically his parents. She said she won’t be able to find the words to express how sorry she is.
She said she loved Woodworth and also feels a great loss.