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Man will serve life in prison plus 20 years for 2018 rape, murder of elderly woman in Adams County

Kristopher Gartrell was sentenced today after pleading guilty last year to the murder and sexual assault of Virginia Barbour on Nov. 21, 2018.
Credit: Adams County District Attorney's Office
Kristopher Gartrell

ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. — A man will serve life in prison plus 20 years after pleading guilty to the 2018 murder and sexual assault of an elderly Huntingdon Township woman, according to Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett.

Kristopher Zackarias Gartrell pleaded guilty on Nov. 30, 2020 to raping and killing Virginia Barbour, 87, on Nov. 21, 2018. Gartrell admitted to breaking into the woman's home and forcing her to show him where her valuables were before raping and strangling her.

He was arrested two days later in a Gettysburg hotel.

Adams County Judge Thomas R. Campbell sentenced Gartrell at a hearing Wednesday.

Campbell also determined Gartrell to be a sexually violent predator, according to Sinnett.

"The crimes committed by Gartrell are as bad as any we've seen during my time as prosecutor in Adams County," Sinnett said. "This defendant was an absconder from the state of South Carolina after committing sexually violent offenses there and it is tragic that he found his way to our community and took the life of someone so beloved.

"Although this sentencing today ensures that Gartrell will never leave the prison setting alive, it still falls short of being sufficient to atone for the acts that he committed. We hope in some way this provides some small step towards closure for the friends and family of Mrs. Barbour."

Gartrell's girlfriend at the time, Shelia Schriver, was charged as an accomplice in the case and has a court date set for May 27, Sinnett said. 

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