Fernandez to serve 15 years in prison for murder

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- More than a year after a missing persons case turned into a murder investigation a family finally has some closure.

Monday in court a plea deal was reached for 46-year old Larry Fernandez. He's the man now convicted of killing 52-year old Brian Harvey.

In a surprising deal, Larry Fernandez pleaded no contest to one count of second degree reckless homicide in the death of Brian Harvey. For Harvey’s family, Monday's hearing means a small piece of closure.

“If I may I'd like to demonstrate something for the court , if that would be alright,” Brian Harvey’s sister Robin Gydesen said as she read a statement in front of an Eau Claire County court room.

Gydesen pulled out a small clock and sat silent for around four minutes to serve as a reminder of a fateful day in August of 2012.

“Four minutes was how long the defendant [Larry Fernandez] had to change his mind and stop what he was doing and let Brian live,” Gydesen said.

It was August of 2012 when Brian Harvey’s family reported him missing. After police investigated several leads, the case took a twist when police arrested Larry Fernandez two months after Harvey was reported missing.

“We will always love and miss Brian. The defendant left him in a grave that destroyed his body beyond our recognition leaving us with no chance of seeing him just one last time,” Gydesen said.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told officers Fernandez strangled Harvey with a belt at Harvey’s mobile home on Seymour Road. Police later found Harvey’s body buried in Rusk County.

“Mr. Fernandez's conduct in this manner demonstrates a significant danger to the public and thus there would need to be a significant period of confinement,” Circuit Court Judge Paul Lenz said.

Monday’s plea deal means Harvey will spend at least the next 15 years behind bars and another 10 years on extended supervision.

For Brian Harvey’s family the plea finally brings a small piece of closure, but they say it will never bring Brian back.

“This tragedy must be a catalyst for change. My brother was given a death sentence by the defendant. He so self-righteously chose to play judge jury and executioner,” Gydesen said.

As part of the plea deal Fernandez was ordered not to have contact with Harvey’s family members.

Several other charges were read in Monday in court but were dismissed.

The man accused of strangling and killing an Eau Claire man will serve at least 15 years in prison.

46-year-old Larry Fernandez entered a no contest plea, as part of a plea deal, in Eau Claire County court Tuesday to 2nd-degree reckless homicide in the death of 52-year-old Brian Harvey. Several other charges were dismissed, but read-in.

Police say a witness told officers Fernandez strangled Harvey with a belt at Harvey's mobile home on Seymour Road in the summer of 2012.

Fernandez was sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 10 years of supervision.