OKANOGAN — Just before Kelly Small was sentenced to life in prison on Friday afternoon, Sandy Bauer’s family told him that they have lived in fear ever since he went into Bauer’s Omak apartment nearly 15 years ago and brutally raped and strangled her to death while she struggled for her life.
“We all lived with our doors locked, our cars locked, and living with guns,” Bauer’s daughter-in-law Joyce Adams yelled at him. “And you had to go out and do it to another person. How many other people did you do it to?” she asked him. “How would you like it if someone did this to your mother, your daughter?”
Bauer was 51 and was well known in the Okanogan Valley as former patron of the Cariboo Inn, and a dispatcher. A few weeks before an Okanogan County Superior Court jury found the 50-year-old Omak man guilty of her first-degree aggravated murder on Sept. 26, a different jury found him guilty of raping a 75-year-old Omak woman in 2006. He strangled her and left her unconscious, but she survived.
At his sentencing Friday, Ambrosa Adams — Bauer’s granddaughter — told him, “You took more than my grandmother,” she said. “You ruined my family.”
She said Small’s actions broke her family’s trust in the human race. “My family fell apart that day, and until you are behind those prison bars we will stay that way,” she said.
She added, “Your smug actions, your face, your name makes me sick to my stomach.
Small did not look at Ambrosa or any of Bauer’s friends or family members who came, including Bauer’s fiancé, Frank Trotter, who asked him several times to look at him.
Small had removed the court’s hearing aide that he had worn throughout the trial, and stared to the front of the room as victims spoke to him.
When Judge Jack Burchard asked him if he had anything to say, he replied, “Nope.”
Burchard expressed deep condolences to Bauer’s family and friends, and told them he hopes they can eventually let go of their anger.
He said prayers are also needed for Small’s wife and children, who were not in the courtroom. “I’m sure their pain is enormous also,” he said.
And he commended the Omak Police Department and Detective Jeff Koplin for picking up the cold case murder to finally find Bauer’s killer. “This is something that could have gone unsolved, but he wasn’t going to let that happen,” he said.
Omak police solved both cold cases when DNA from blood left on a telephone that the elderly woman used to hit Small on the head while he was attacking her matched DNA on two public hairs found in Bauer’s apartment. Police then re-interviewed everyone initially questioned in Bauer’s case, and asked for a DNA sample. Small left town after providing his sample.
By law — since prosecutors did not seek the death penalty — Small’s only sentencing possibility for first-degree aggravated murder was life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Still, Burchard gave him the highest possible sentence for his first-degree rape of Bauer — 10 years and 3 months — to be served consecutively, or in addition to, his life sentence. His prior sentence of nearly 32 years in prison for the 2006 rape is also added to the sentence.
Burchard said those are likely moot, unless Small were to win an appeal.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512