21 Years Later, a West Fargo Family is Still Dealing with the Murder of Cherryl Tendeland

Appearing in court for the first time in three years the family shares their feelings about Friday's court ruling

Convicted murderer Barry Garcia appeared in court appealing his life sentence.

The family of his victim was in the courtroom and spoke with us after the decision.

“The defendant’s summary for disposition is denied,” said District Judge Wade L. Webb.

After almost a year of delays, the Tendeland family finally hears the answer they’ve been hoping for.

The man convicted of killing Cherryl Tendeland, the woman they knew as a mother, wife, and sister, would not have the opportunity to get out of prison anytime soon.

“Yeah we’re satisfied you know. Kind of figured it was going to happen. The way it played out I think the judge had a decision made before he even came,” said Cherryl’s son Shane Tendeland.

It’s a decision that Garcia’s own pleas for understanding could not shake.

“In my 12th year, something occurred that destroyed me utterly. My mother was murdered… The sorrow and rage that I felt up within me blinded me so I began to act with complete disregard for my life, as well as the life of others,” said Garcia.

Garcia spoke to the family in court, trying to justify why he committed the senseless crime more than 20 years ago.

But the family said this wasn’t the first time they’ve heard those words.

In fact, Garcia once wrote a letter to Cherryl’s husband, who was also injured that night.

“Some of the pieces I heard him talking about today were excerpts of that letter and it was reasons why. He murdered my mother because his mother was murdered. That’s his reasoning, that’s his escape. Not ‘I’m sorry’. Just that’s why he did it,” said Cherrly’s son, Darin Tendeland.

“I don’t know why. Never said he was sorry, never said he did it,” said Cherryl’s husband Pat Tendeland.

The Tendelands have not reached out or responded to Garcia.

And that’s the way Darin said he wants it.

“I don’t know that anything I could say would justify what I would want to do. The fact of the matter is he killed our mother. He shot her dead. What would you say,” said Darin.

The Tendelands say it’s been nearly three years since they’ve appeared in court for this case and each time they do… it brings back the memories of their loved one’s murder.

“We’re getting along… So far,” said Shane.

“We keep reliving it every time he makes an appeal so… we miss her every day the same,” said Darin.

And with the possibility of another appeal on this ruling…the cycle may not be over.

But the Tendelands said with each appeal denied is a small victory.

“So it does feel good that this was denied. Now we just sit back and wait for the next appeal,” said Darin.

Garcia has 60 days to appeal the ruling.

His lawyer says he isn’t aware of what Garcia intends to do.

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