“A prison term can never be enough,” was all the father of Kristin Juel Johannessen would say about the sentence handed down Thursday to the man convicted of murdering her 17 years ago. The Johannessen family, however was clearly relieved that the lengthy criminal process was finally over.
“It feels a bit strange now, but this is what we have fought for all these years,” Roar Juel Johannessen told reporters regarding the conviction itself. “Now we’re finished with this, it was the last day in court. But we’ll never be finished with Kristin.”
She was only 12 years old when she was found strangled to death and her body dumped not far from where she was supposed to have met a friend for a summer evening swim near their homes outside Larvik. A Norwegian man, Henning Hotvedt, was later arrested, charged and convicted for the crime. He appealed, and the DNA evidence used in his first trial was found not to have belonged to him.
Hotvedt ended up being acquitted and went free until last year, when he was re-arrested and charged with the murder once again. Kristin’s father had hounded the police into reopening the investigation, and new improved techniques for analyzing DNA found Hotvedt’s DNA under Kristin’s fingernails, which had been saved since her autopsy in 1999. He was thus convicted after a new appeals court trial last month.