OAKLAND — A woman who murdered her sister and impersonated her in public after stuffing her dismembered body in a freezer was sentenced Tuesday to life without parole.
Sarah Mitchell, 50, of Oakland, was found guilty Nov. 21 of murdering her sister, Stevie Allman, a 52-year-old anti-drug crusader.
The Alameda County jury spent more than three days in deliberations before returning the verdict against Mitchell, who was charged with murder with the special circumstance of financial gain.
Prosecutors had requested the death penalty, but Deputy District Attorney Terry Wiley said he respected the jury’s decision.
Wiley had argued that Mitchell’s plan was to impersonate her sister to withdraw money from her trust accounts.
In the summer of 1997, Mitchell began posing as Allman. When the home they shared burned down, Mitchell claimed they had been the victims of a firebombing and blamed it on disgruntled drug dealers.
Mitchell fooled others and received $3,600 in sympathy checks. Then-Gov. Pete Wilson offered a $50,000 reward for information in the case.
Police soon discovered Allman was really Mitchell. Then, on July 16 of that year, they found Allman’s body. She had been murdered, dismembered and stuffed into a freezer sealed with duct tape in the ruins of her home.