TAMPA — Convicted for the death of his former lover, Stanley Larry Telfare turned to the victim's family in court Monday and called it a freak accident.
He apologized to Elalia Walker's relatives, and his own, but stopped short of accepting responsibility for the Blake High School secretary's death.
"I never wanted to do any harm to her," said Telfare, 48.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Anthony Black offered few words before sentencing Telfare to life in prison, and five years for false imprisonment of Walker, 40.
Telfare stood trial in February on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping. Jurors convicted him of the lesser charges of second-degree murder and false imprisonment.
"He got what he deserved," said Walker's husband, Michael. "He took my kids' mother from me. The pain and the hurt will never go away."
Witnesses said Telfare refused to move on after Walker broke off their affair. Both were married to other people.
In a petition for a protective order, Walker wrote of Telfare's threats: "If I can't have you then no one will have you."
One of Walker's sisters, Early Coleman, stared into Telfare's eyes when her time came to speak.
"I just want to tell you, Larry, I forgive you," she said.
"I had to for myself," she said later, "so I could be at peace."
When Walker showed up bruised and beaten on her family's front lawn the night of Oct. 11, 2007, she told them she had jumped from a moving van to escape Telfare.
He had been seen earlier that night striking Walker and throwing her limp body into her van at the Orange River Estates subdivision in Temple Terrace.
The pair had worked together at Blake High, where Telfare was a custodian. Testimony at trial showed they had a problematic on-and-off relationship.
Instead of getting immediate care for Walker after she jumped from the van, Telfare drove to his wife's house before bringing Walker back to her own home.
She was bleeding profusely from the head.
Coleman recalled asking her sister why she'd jumped. "I feared for my life," Walker told her.
It's one of the last things her mother, Mary Coleman, remembers her daughter saying before she slipped into a coma and died.
"I was not supposed to outlive my baby girl," Mary Coleman said in court.
Telfare's mother, Andrea Telfare Wilson, cried as she stood up for her son in court and tried to defend his character.
"I can't believe they have said the things they have said," Wilson told the judge. "I know my son is a fine young man who would not hurt anyone."
Kevin Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3433.