Ezra McCandless sentenced to life in prison with possibility for parole after 50 years

Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 9:32 AM CST
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A judge in Dunn County has sentenced Ezra McCandless to life in prison with the possibility for parole after 50 years.

In November, McCandless was convicted in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Alex Woodworth of Eau Claire.

Now, family members of McCandless and Woodworth begin the process of moving beyond the crime.

Judge James Peterson presided over the entirety of the case and announced the sentence Friday around 1:30 p.m.

“I am going to sentence Ms. McCandless to life in prison in the Wisconsin Prison System and I'm going to set a date that she would be eligible to petition in court for supervision at 50 years,” Peterson said.

Friday's sentencing for Ezra McCandless capped nearly two years of legal battles tied to the stabbing death of Woodworth. Family members for each side argued over whether McCandless should ever be given a chance to leave prison. At times, the appeals on behalf of Woodworth were aimed directly at McCandless

“Ezra shows no remorse for what she's done,” said Dale Hall. Hall is Woodworth’s uncle. “There is no AA group or prison program that will be able to give her any caring for human life.”

But, there was a bit of remorse for the woman convicted of homicide three months ago from Alex’s father, John.

“The fact I can forgive her for what she did didn't change what I wanted to see today but I don't want to see her dead or anything,” John said. “I don't feel the need for vengeance.”

The pleas from McCandless’s family centered on the person they still see as a fun, nature-loving child. One of those pleas came from her grandfather, David Gunelson.

“When she would come visit us, she'd be walking in the woods, looking at the woods and seeing,” said Gunelson. “Sometimes I’d wonder where she is, but she'd be out exploring. That is who Ezra is.”

McCandless’s mother, Roselenna Gunelson, begged the court to grant her daughter the ability to petition for extended supervision after 20 years.

"Multiple times a day, I wish that Alex and Ezra never met each other,” she said. “I truly feel that no one wins in this case."

In the end, Judge Peterson ruled to keep McCandless behind bars until, at least, 2070. She will have her first chance for parole when she is 72 years old.

DUNN COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU)--Due to technical difficulties we were unable to bring you the state’s case this morning. Here is a recap:

It has been one year, 10 months and 16 days since Alex Woodworth was found stabbed to death on a muddy road in the town of Spring Brook.

This morning, the sentencing of Ezra McCandless began in Dunn County. In November, McCandless was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide in Woodworth's death.

The state started their sentencing testimony with family and friends of Alex Woodworth. In each of their testimony, the family of Alex implored the court to carry out the maximum sentence of life in prison. According to the family, Alex’s grandfather suffered a heart attack following the case. In her fathers statement read by Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Noldolf, he said quote “by killing our son, not only did she take our son, she made the world a colder and darker place”

The state argued that no prison program or amount of time will be sufficient enough to rehabilitation McCandless. In addition, the family and Nodolf agree that if McCandless was to be released, she will kill again.

We will have the defense teams argument in our later shows.

To watch the live stream, click here.

DUNN COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU)--Ezra McCandless' sentencing started Friday morning.

McCandless was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide in November during her jury trial, which carries the potential for a life sentence.

McCandless was charged and convicted in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Alex Woodworth of Eau Claire.

According to McCandless, Woodworth was dealing with internal pain and misery.

On March 22nd, 2018, McCandless says she was running errands in Eau Claire and met Woodworth to talk about their relationship. The car they were in got stuck on a muddy road in Spring Brook. It was then that McCandless allegedly stabbed and killed Woodworth after the defense says he tried to assault her.