DALLAS — Dennis Sarver will serve 10 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter in the death of a man who was a lifelong friend.
A Polk County jury convicted Sarver, 62, of Salem, on June 13 of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and unlawful use of weapon in the death of Falls City resident Earl “Buddy” Jambura.
He has been in Polk County Jail since his arrest on June 9, 2018, the day he turned himself in to police after shooting Jambura on Black Rock Road outside of Falls City. He was sentenced Friday.
Members of Jambura’s family spoke before Polk County Circuit Court Judge Rafael Caso sentenced Sarver. They said Sarver betrayed Jambura and his entire family.
“We considered the Sarvers as family. We grew up together, close. We trusted and looked up to Dennis,” said Jambura’s sister. “Dennis shot and killed my brother and never checked to see if he was alive or dead, and left him. My brother died alone whether it was quickly or slowly, but no help was called. This has been a very emotional and heartbreaking time for both families. We can never trust or feel safe around Dennis again.”
Jambura’s relatives said they believed he planned the shooting and left Jambura to die. They said they felt betrayed by Sarver’s actions.
“Buddy offered Dennis a place to stay, a way to cook his food, and food when he would run out of his disability checks,” Jambura’s mother Phyllis Web said. “Dennis, you shot a lifelong friend. He was unarmed. You shot him in his face, and you left him there.”
She said Sarver could have checked on her son or stopped at the Falls City fire station to get help, but he did neither.
“I feel that you don’t have remorse,” she said. “You betrayed my feelings for you. You used to call me your other mother.”
Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton requested Caso issue Sarver to the Measure 11 requirement of 10 years on the first-degree manslaughter charge. Defense attorney Scott Howell agreed that 120 in months is the term required by law.
“Mr. Sarver understands the jury’s verdict, and he will do his sentence,” Howell said.
Caso imposed the requested term. The charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide merged with the first-degree manslaughter charge for sentencing. The unlawful use of a weapon charge carried a five-year term that will run concurrent with the 10-year term, Caso said.
Sarver gave a brief statement before Caso issued his ruling.
“I think about that day every day. I will for the rest of my life. I’m haunted by it,” Sarver said. “It’s a tragedy for the Jambura family. It’s a tragedy for mine.”