Hannah Lange cried when she heard the sentence.
Robert Brunda — the man who had just been convicted of strangling Hannah’s sister, Amanda Lange — was sentenced to life in prison Friday in a Pasco County courtroom. The sentencing came at the end of a three-day trial where Brunda, 34, faced a second-degree murder charge.
Hannah Lange, 38, said she and her mother, Edna Lange, 70, had given a statement in court asking the judge to impose a life sentence — the harshest punishment permissible in the case. She said she left the room when Brunda’s family gave a statement on his behalf.
But when the final sentencing came, Hannah Lange said, she felt a combination of happiness and sadness. She said she was happy for justice for the man who had killed her 39-year-old sister. Yet, she said, she also felt sad: Even with Brunda’s conviction, a 7-year-old girl is forever without her mother.
Most of all, Hannah Lange said she was grateful for the decision.
Amanda Lange’s body was found by Pasco County deputies just after 3 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2021, in the woods near the intersection of Plathe and Little roads — near the campsite where Brunda lived — wrapped in a brown-and-pink comforter. About 20 feet away from the woman’s body, deputies say, were a pair of jeans with Brunda’s ID in them.
Brunda, Amanda Lange and their then-5-year-old daughter had been reported missing just after 1 a.m. that day. A few hours earlier, Brunda had entered the Lange home and taken the young girl, telling the family that Amanda Lange was in the car waiting outside, an arrest warrant states.
Brunda said he, Amanda Lange and their daughter were going to the store, and they’d be back soon, according to court documents.
By midnight, Hannah Lange woke up after falling asleep on the couch. Amanda Lange and her daughter hadn’t come back. Court documents say Hannah Lange went upstairs to awaken her mother. They called Brunda’s mother, Susan. She hadn’t seen them, either, according to court documents, so the Langes called the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to report them missing.
Deputies say they sent a “ping” to Brunda and Amanda Lange’s cellphones, which both were located in a car going toward Susan Brunda’s Port Richey home. Court documents say deputies arrived at the Brunda home at 4:15 a.m. on Jan. 20 and located Robert Brunda and his daughter in the car. By then, deputies already had found Amanda Lange’s body near Robert Brunda’s camp.
Brunda was arrested the next day on a charge of second-degree murder.
Judge Kimberly Campbell ruled that Brunda was competent to stand trial in March 2022, according to court records. Judge Joshua Riba took over the case this year, presiding over the trial and handing down the life sentence Friday.