Closure postponed as Sanger murderer gets one-week reprieve

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A convicted killer and child sex predator got a one-week reprieve before he goes to prison for the rest of his life. (KFSN)

A convicted killer and child sex predator got a one-week reprieve before he goes to prison for the rest of his life. Keith Beyer wants to use the time to prove he didn't commit the crimes. Sandra Cantu was murdered in November 2012.

Beyer, her husband, confessed to the crime four times and last month, a jury found him guilty of the murder and sex crimes. Beyer tried just about everything he could to buy time, starting by refusing to leave the Fresno County jail.

"So we're kind of waiting to see whether he's going to come," prosecutor Robert Mangano told the crowd gathered outside the courtroom.

Sheriff's deputies eventually delivered the 37-year-old to court to face his punishment. A crowd of about 30 people eagerly awaited the chance to speak up about what Sandra Cantu meant to them, and what Beyer stole when he murdered his wife.

"He took a beautiful person," said Cantu's friend, Cathy Pinedo. "She saw the good in everybody. You know, I guess that was part of her being the way she was."

Those words would have to wait. Beyer's next move was to ask for a delay to investigate another potential suspect.

"He could've very well easily entered the residence and killed my wife," he told the judge.

But a jury convicted him, thanks in part to his own very public confession.

"I took my wife's life, and I am accepting full responsibility of that but nothing less than the death penalty," Beyer said at his first court appearance in November 2012.

The judge didn't accept Beyer's latest claim as new evidence.

"Mr. Beyer is now claiming that another individual in fact committed the murder," said Judge Denise Whitehead. "There is no evidence that would support that assertion."

"There's no evidence that would deny that either," Beyer interrupted.

The Sanger man took over as his own attorney last week, but nothing in his legal book seemed to get him what he wanted. As it turned out, it was something he didn't have. Although he'd seen the report describing his punishment, he never received a copy. That forced the judge to give him a week to review it. A week longer until closure comes for the people who loved Sandra Cantu.

"He's just delaying it, but you know, God knows and we'll get our justice," Pinedo said. "We will."

It'll come -- a week late -- in the form of life without parole for Keith Beyer.

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