Source AP ©

Taxi driver who killed woman for not paying fare gets 25 years in prison

Fourteen years ago a taxi driver strangled a woman who did not have money to pay taxi fare. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Friday.

Lawrence E. Jensen, 57, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October.

He admitted he strangled Veronica Neverdusky, 21, in August 1993 and dumped her body in a Kansas City park. Authorities have said Neverdusky was unable to pay her fare and that Jensen became upset with her.

At the sentencing Friday, Jensen read a statement apologizing for the slaying before asking the judge to impose the maximum penalty, defense attorney Jeff Gedbaw said.

Jensen is also charged with murder for the strangulation of Anita Fratzel, 27, in Kansas City, Kansas. Fratzel was killed two days before Neverdusky's body was found. An after hours call to the Wyandotte County public defenders office went unanswered.

According to police, Jensen disappeared after Neverdusky's slaying. Authorities said he showed up at a Nevada police station in May 2002 and confessed that he had "taken the lives of two innocent people" in the Kansas City area.

Kansas City detectives flew to Nevada, but Jensen was gone when they arrived. Nevada police had sent him to a mental facility to be evaluated, and the facility let him go.

The search for Jensen narrowed earlier this year, and police arrested him in Denver in March.

Neverdusky, who had three young children, sometimes worked as a prostitute. Veronica's Voice, an organization formed in 2000 to help prostitutes get off the streets, was named for her.