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On a short silver chain around Annette Winward's neck hangs a small glass vial filled with a glimmering gray dust.
It holds the ashes of her friend, Alicia Anne Sherman, whose boyfriend beat her to death nearly five years ago. Winward wears the necklace every day, she explained outside the courtroom Friday, to keep Sherman close to "me and my heart."
The man responsible for Sherman's death, 54-year-old Daniel Jay Folsom, also wore a silver chain one that bound his hands and feet together as he walked into the courtroom in a dark blue jumpsuit, the words "SALT LAKE COUNTY JAIL" spelled out in white letters on the back.
On Friday, 3rd District Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills sentenced Folsom to 15 years to life at the Utah State Prison with credit for time already served. He was found guilty by a jury in June of first-degree felony murder for fatally beating 45-year-old Sherman on the night of Dec. 15, 2011. Sherman died in the hospital four days after the attack from brain swelling.
"You let your brutality take over and you beat her senselessly for a long period of time," Hruby-Mills said during the sentencing, which included $20,000 restitution to be paid to Sherman's family.
Roxanne Wadman, Sherman's mother, hopes Folsom will remain behind bars for the rest of his life. In addressing the court Friday, Wadman said the grief of losing her daughter has been overwhelming.
The worst part, though, the images "implanted" in her mind that continue to haunt her, Wadman said, was seeing her daughter lying motionless in a hospital bed. Sherman was in a coma after the attack, and surgeons had to remove a part of her skull due to the swelling in her brain.
"I pretty much had a meltdown," Wadman recalled, a tissue remaining in her hand from the tears she fought back minutes earlier. "There wasn't an inch of her body that didn't have a bruise."
A doctor told Wadman that on the off-chance Sherman survived what he called one of the worst brain injuries he had ever seen, she would likely be blind and unable to talk, Wadman said. After four unresponsive days, the family took Sherman off life support.
Wadman told the judge Friday that nothing Sherman could have done deserved the beating she got that night.
"Shame on you, Dan," Wadman said, staring down Folsom as she walked away from the stand. "You know what you did."
During the trial, Folsom maintained that Sherman attacked him first and that he responded in self-defense. During his sentencing, Folsom said he will seek a retrial so that Sherman's "long-term psychiatric drug use and her violent attacks on me can be fully presented to the jury."
Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Bradford Cooley said it was "never about self-defense," but rather Folsom "blaming Alicia Sherman for her own death."
Folsom also apologized to Sherman's family members for their loss and reiterated how he felt for his girlfriend during their relationship.
"Alicia Sherman meant everything to me," he said. "She was the love of my life."
Laura Malloy believes Folsom showed no remorse during the proceedings. She choked back tears as she called the death of her sister a "ruthless, senseless murder." Though nothing will bring her sister back, Malloy said, Folsom's sentence makes the best of a bad situation.
"The only thing that can give us justice is Dan being behind bars," she said.
Malloy spoke about her sister's "contagious smile" and beauty, as well as her ability to find the good in everyone.
Winward remembered that about Sherman, too, prompting her to get a tattoo of a purple ribbon on her wrist. The symbol of domestic violence remained slightly red and puffy on her left arm Friday, freshly inked onto her skin.
Winward also wore pictures of Sherman pinned to her clothes and left the courtroom Friday, like many of the 10 family members and friends present, still questioning Folsom's actions: "If he loved her so much, why did he beat her to death?"
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