Montgomery Co. man gets life sentence for brutal 2019 murder

The man behind the vicious murder of a woman in Germantown, Maryland, two years ago was handed a life sentence Friday.

Lawrence Sakkestad, 36, of Germantown, will spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2019 murder of 39-year-old Jennifer Sparks.

“This was an unprovoked, savage murder. The only appropriate and just punishment, both for Ms. Sparks and for the safety of the community, is life in prison for Lawrence Sakkestad,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy at the sentencing hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Sakkestad pleaded guilty earlier this month to first degree murder for killing Sparks.

Police reported that friends of Sakkestad found him naked and covered in blood when they returned to his residence in Dunstable Circle in September 2019.

One of the friends noticed the bathroom door was locked, according to police, and found Sparks’ dead body on the floor after forcing it open.

Police said that Sakkestad beat Sparks to death with a pipe wrench and used a pocket knife to slit her throat. Officers said she also had a hole in her forehead when they found her.

Sakkestad told police he had heard voices that told him to kill Sparks.

Investigators said the two met the day before the murder. Sakkestad brought Sparks to his residence and used drugs with her before they had sex.

The mother of Jennifer Sparks, Martha Cook, submitted a written statement that was read before the court.

“Jennifer had many difficulties in life which she was just putting behind her,” Cook said. “She had hope for her future and was feeling confident in herself for the first time in years.”

Cook also lost her home, moving into a hotel after the loss to be near her only living son. She said that she continues to suffer anxiety attacks and panic attacks after Sparks’ death.

“I have lost touch with my 4 grand children, Jennifer’s children,” Cook said. “Jennifer was my only link to them. We were never able to even have a funeral for her.”

WTOP’s Dick Uliano and Liz Anderson contributed to this report.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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