NEW MILFORD – A former police officer will now serve two to four years for murdering his wife in Susquehanna County.
John Walker pleaded no contest Thursday to the murder that happened more than 30 years ago.
This plea came as a surprise to many who knew the victim, Lynda Conrad Walker.
In 1983 her death was first ruled a suicide, but decades later an autopsy proved that she in fact didn’t shoot herself.
Walker pleaded no contest, which means he doesn’t admit guilt, but he doesn’t fight the charges either.
Even so, for some, that plea isn’t enough.
It’s been more than 30 years since Lynda Conrad Walker was found dead, a gunshot wound to her chest, a death originally ruled suicide in Susquehanna County.
Walker’s childhood friend says years later she still can’t believe her friend is gone.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. She was a very close and dear friend with many of us and it's heartbreaking,” said Lynda’s childhood friend Cathy Dunlap.
Now Lynda’s husband John Walker pleaded no contest to her murder. He was charged in the cold case in 2011 after a new autopsy. Now he’ll be locked up for two to four years.
The victim’s mother Norma says this case has taken its toll on her.
"It's difficult, you have your ups and downs , you think things are going to go the way you want them to and the next thing you know there not,” said Norma Conrad.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office brought charges in the cold case and says, “We believe the conviction achieved in this sad tragedy is an appropriate resolution based on the investigative facts available. Our condolences to the victim's family and may they now have closure.”
This 30-year-old case comes to a close on the same week that Lynda Conrad Walker would have turned 55.
Her family and friends say this case will never truly come to an end.
"We waited a long time for this day, but this isn't exactly what we wanted. Not that we wanted a long trial or anything, but we wanted justice for her and her family,” said Dunlap.
Lynda’s friend had hoped for life in prison or the death penalty. Her mother says this sentence is not for anyone to judge.
"The only thing I can say is after 30 years at least he has served something,” said Conrad.
Now Lynda’s mother looks toward the memorial she has for her daughter in her backyard, thankful for the fight others fought on Lynda’s behalf.
"I just appreciate how all of the people have been working on this case and just stayed with it. They've been so kind to me and I wanted some way to be able to thank them,” said Conrad.