Herring sentenced to life without parole

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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) Confessed killer Jody Herring will serve life in prison without parole for the four murders she committed in August 2015. Family of Herring's murder victims rejoiced Wednesday, saying justice was served. But before she was sentenced to life behind bars, Herring had a message for them.

"Family is the most important thing to us, and with the pull of a trigger you ended it," said Naomi Herring, a family member of the victims.

Although they share the same last name, members of the Herring family expressed hate and anger toward the woman who shot and killed her aunt and two cousins in 2015. "I could write all day and night and never explain what I and my family have been going through," said Randy Herring.

There were equivalent feelings for the family of DCF worker Lara Sobel, who was Herring's caseworker. Her older sister, Lauren Shapiro, told the judge that Sobel was "hunted down" as she left work. "Siblings and sisters are everywhere in this world, but mine is not. My beloved sister, Lara, was murdered -- and deliberately, with premeditation -- targeted," she said.

"I have not lost a daughter. She was brutally murdered, stolen from me as part of an act of unprecedented evil," said Alex Sobel, Lara's father.

Evil that has left a lasting impact to Sobel's colleagues. "Adding the fear and trauma caused by Lara Sobel's murder made this work much harder for the staff in the Barre office, and has taken a toll on the lives of the staff and their loved ones," said Karen Shea, a fellow DCF worker.

And then came a rebuttal from Jody Herring, who spoke out for the first time since the start of the murder case. "It bothered me for everybody to get up there, and listen to those impact statements. I know how it feels, and I'm very sorry. I can't take back that day. I wish I could," Herring said.

Herring's lawyer wanted her to have a chance not to die behind bars, but prosecutors wanted life without parole -- and they got it. Judge John Pacht called her a threat to public safety, with no certainty of her future risk, and handed down his sentence: "The murder of Lara Sobel -- the sentence is life without parole," he said.

Then came clapping and hugs from family and friends relieved at the ruling. "Jody Herring will never be out there to live one day of freedom," Shapiro said.

Family and friends of the victims said more than anything, they're happy that this court case is finally over.

Herring's lawyer said he intends to appeal the decision.