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Arkansas Woman Sentenced To 30 Years In Fatal Stabbing Of Her One-Time Babysitter

Amber Runau was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of an elderly woman, Sharon Adler, who had been her babysitter as a kid. 

By Constance Johnson
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

An Arkansas woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a family friend who used to babysit her.

Amber Lee Runau was originally charged with first-degree murder but agreed to plea guilty to a lesser charge as part of a plea deal.

Runau, now 23, called 911 on Aug. 17, 2020 and said, “I just stabbed someone in the heart,” Gassville Police Captain Everett Uchtman told the Baxter Bulletin at the time.

The victim, Sharon Gayle Adler, 72, was a family friend who had babysat both Runau and her older sister, Anna, when the two were little, according to local radio station KTLO. She was wheelchair-bound at the time of her murder, after having suffered a stroke, according to the Bulletin.

Police found her sitting in a recliner chair “with a large kitchen knife protruding from her upper left chest,” according to the affidavit for probable cause determination obtained by Law & Crime.

A police handout of Amber Runau

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that Adler allowed Runau to spend the previous night at her home after the younger woman had become homeless. Uchtman said the elderly victim fed her former charge dinner when she arrived, and then breakfast and lunch before she was murdered.

Runau reportedly told authorities that she'd become upset and angry after being unable to repair a picture frame and took her frustrations out on Adler.

She allegedly repeatedly confessed to Adler's murder, and even made a point of telling investigators that she closely watched Adler’s eyes as she died, according to KTLO.

Runau underwent multiple psychological examinations in an attempt to determine if she was mentally fit to stand trial. At one point she was found unfit and placed in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, KTLO reported.

That decision was later reversed.

Amber Runau’s older sister, Anna, is serving a 20-year sentence for attempted murder for an unrelated crime, according to multiple media outlets. In May of 2016, she pleaded no contest to charges that she'd lured a man to Lake North Lake and stabbed him at least seven times.

She and another teenager reportedly planned to steal the man’s truck, so they could go to Indiana.

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