ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They were her family. They were also her killers. Tuesday, a young man was sentenced for the torture and murder of his own grandmother that he carried out with his mother and her friend.
“It feels like part of my soul is gone and it will be gone forever,” Harry Gandert, the victim’s brother, said.
Friends and family of Marilyn Gandert are still in disbelief about what happened to her in January 2018. She was tied up and was beaten, then her body burned and left on the West Mesa.
Those responsible included Gandert’s own grandson, 19-year-old Drake Bickett; his mother and Gandert’s daughter-in-law, Alissa; and her friend, Annie Rael. They’ve all admitted to their roles in the crime, saying they did because Gandert was kicking them out of her home for not paying rent.
“This was a family who was wrecked with domestic violence,” attorney Stephanie Gulley said.
Attorneys for Drake Bickett asked a judge for some sympathy, and to recognize his remorse and mental health issues.
“His father would play Russian roulette and force his family to play with him,” she said. “You add on alcohol, drugs, meth and the influence of others, and you have a really toxic situation.”
But those who knew Gandert, who was a postal worker, say there’s no excuse for what happened.
“He made a conscious decision to take his grandmother’s life for his own personal gain and that of his immediate family,” Nancy Robinson, a friend of Marylin Gandert, said.
Judge Cindy Leos sentenced Bickett to 24 years of the 30 years he faced.
Gandert was a mail carrier for 30 years. She was preparing for retirement. Neighbors put up a memorial the North Valley Post Office, saying she brought joy to the area.