Co-defendant in Heisler’s murder sentenced to 46 years in Arizona prison

Francis Lee McCard at an Aug. 8, 2016, preliminary hearing in 5th District Court, St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy of 5th District Court video pool, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man involved in the brutal kidnapping and murder of a Santa Clara father was sentenced Thursday in Arizona.

Francis Lee McCard, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted July 5, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Francis Lee McCard, 57, of Washington City, was sentenced to 25 years in an Arizona prison for the murder of David Heisler in 2016. He was given a separate 21-year sentence for Heisler’s kidnapping. The sentences, which are both for second-degree felonies, will run consecutively, adding up to 46 years. McCard was sentenced in Kingman, Arizona, because Heisler died in the Arizona Strip.

McCard was previously indicted in federal court, after which he struck a plea deal in February to serve 29 years in prison. With all of the consecutive sentences, McCard will serve 75 years in prison.

Read more: Defendant in David Heisler kidnapping, murder case to serve 75-year sentence

McCard and co-defendants Kelley Marie Perry and Tammy Renee Freeman are accused of kidnapping 30-year-old Heisler from his Santa Clara home in 2016 and taking him to a remote area on the Arizona Strip where he was either killed or left to die in the desert heat after being assaulted.

During the police investigation, McCard allegedly admitted to going to David Heisler’s home with the two co-defendants the morning of June 27, 2016, with the intent to “scare” Heisler, who had been awarded sole custody of his daughter, Mariah, two weeks prior.

McCard and Perry both reportedly admitted to tying up Heisler, assaulting him in his home, placing a pillowcase over his head and forcing him into the backseat of his car before driving to the Utah-Arizona border, where his remains were found weeks later.

David Heisler’s stepmother Debbie Heisler, wasn’t able to attend McCard’s Arizona sentencing, but she told St. George News McCard’s sentencing is not what her family would have hoped for, but “it’s the best that we’ve got.” She said she has been in contact with Mohave County Police.

“We’re just hoping (McCard) never sees the light of day.”

David Heisler and his daughter, Mariah, photo location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of David Heisler’s Facebook page, St. George News

The death penalty had been considered for McCard before he struck the plea deal in February.

McCard’s sentencing for his federal charges will be July 16. As for the other defendants, Freeman was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison last month, and Parry will be arraigned May 22.

Read more: Woman sentenced for role in David Heisler’s kidnapping, death

To ensure justice is served, Debbie Heisler said she will continue to attend as many court dates for the defendants in her stepson’s murder as she can.

“Every single court date we’ve been to has just been so incredibly difficult,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to having some peace.”

Debbie Heisler is currently working Suzun Abbott to establish the Blue Butterfly House in St. George to provide a place for court-ordered supervised visits between children and parents or other loved ones. The Blue Butterfly House will open May 16 after several days for an open house.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to do what we do for the community,” Debbie Heisler said. “We want to make sure no other children have to go through what our granddaughter has gone through.”

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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