SALLISAW, Okla. — The family of Illinois murder victim Denise Stahlhut felt a release when they heard the news that her killer, Herman Edward Lamb Jr. was dead.
“Relief and my heart were pounding so hard," said Dell Berlemann, Stahlhut's mother.
Lamb was convicted and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for the 1977 rape and murder of 21-year-old Stahlhut, a waitress at a tavern in southern Illinois.
Stahlhut had been married for one week before she was killed.
“I still miss her just as much as I did in the beginning. I’d often wonder how many kids she’s have made you a grandma with," said Marian Delanzo, Stahlhut's sister.
Dec 3. marks the 43rd anniversary of Stahlhut's murder.
“Denise was such a loving person. She got along with everybody and she was always trying to help somebody that, the underdog you know," Berlemann said.
The family believes Lamb was a serial killer with connections to several other cold cases, including the 1985 murder of his ex-wife Linda Wheeler and four children in Sallisaw. A case he was acquitted in.
“The thing is there are so many families out there that lost loved ones that they have no idea what happened to them," Delanzo said.
Stahlhut’s family traveled every few years to a hearing to ensure Lamb was never released on parole.
“At least now we won’t have to do that anymore, and we know there’s no chance of him putting another family through what he did to ours," Delanzo said.
Although nothing can replace their lost loved one, now that Lamb is gone, Stahlhut's family says they now have some closure.
According to Stahlhut's family, Lamb was transferred from a prison in Illinois to a hospital a few weeks ago where he later died on Nov. 30.
The exact cause of his death is unknown.
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