Lawrence Sakkestad was sentenced on Friday to life in prison for the murder of 39-year-old Jennifer Sparks (pictured). Credit: Courtesy Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office

A Germantown man on Friday was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a woman nearly two years ago in his home.

Lawrence Sakkestad, 36, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old Jennifer Sparks on Sept. 9, 2019.

Sakkestad waived his rights to any future reconsideration of his sentence, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Sparks’ mother, Martha Cook, read a prepared statement in court on Friday that said she has suffered from anxiety attacks since her daughter’s death, and was “devastated over not only her death, but the manner of her death.”

“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.”

According to court records, a witness staying with Sakkestad at the time told Montgomery County police officers that he took Sparks to his home on Sept. 8, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. The two were using drugs and “engaging in sexual activity,” she told police. The witness later left the home.

When the witness returned to Sakkestad’s home with friends, the door was locked and she knocked multiple times. Sakkestad eventually answered, naked and covered in blood, the witness told police.

One of the witness’s friends eventually forced open the bathroom door, which had been locked, and found Sparks dead on the floor, covered in blood. Police said Sparks had a hole in her forehead and cuts on her neck.

Sakkestad “immediately admitted” to killing Sparks, according to police.

He told detectives he killed Sparks using a pipe wrench and a pocket knife, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. He also told police that Sparks had not instigated the attack and that “he had heard voices that told him to kill her.”

According to the court’s sentencing memo on Friday, an evaluation was conducted and Sakkestad was found to be “criminally responsible” for the murder.

In a statement following Friday’s sentencing, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said: ““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.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com