A Laramie man will avoid prison time for a crime committed over 40 years ago.

Last February, 61-year-old Lance David Bean stood trial in Albany County for the murder of 20-year-old Sharon Reher in 1972 after DNA evidence implicated him. A jury acquitted him of Murder in the First Degree but found him guilty of Attempted Rape.

Albany County District Court Judge Jeffrey Donnell sentenced Bean to a suspended prison sentence of five to eight years and five years of supervised probation. Bean was also given credit for the nearly six months served while he awaited trial.

The victim’s sister, Carol Reher Woods, spoke at the sentencing hearing. She described her older sister as a loving and caring person who was loved by everyone. She said that both their parents had passed away without any closure from her sister’s death, and that “forty-three years, one month and ten days” after Sharon Reher’s death, the sentencing hearing may finally provide the family some closure.

Albany County Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent asked Judge Donnell for a sentence of 42 years imprisonment, one year for each year Bean walked free after his crime.

Several of Bean’s family and friends spoke on Bean’s behalf, including his wife. He was described as a loving, kind, and caring man who always volunteered to help others.

Bean spoke on his own behalf, expressing sympathy to the Reher family for their loss. He denied having any involvement in the murder and asked Jude Donnell for a probation sentence, telling Donnell “You will not regret it.”

Defense Attorney Vaughn Neubauer told Judge Donnell that Bean had a limited criminal history and that he had cooperated with the investigation into Reher’s death since 1972.

“We are not here to disagree with the verdict, but we do submit that Lance is a good man,” said Neubauer. “He is a good candidate for probation.”

Judge Donnell noted that Bean’s criminal history consisted of only one speeding ticket since the crime was committed. He said that the 42 years asked by the prosecution would be a life sentence for Bean, and that it would not be appropriate for the Attempted Rape conviction.

“The fact of the matter is, he was charged with murder and acquitted. He was charged with felony murder and acquitted. He was charged with rape and acquitted,” said Donnell.

Donnell said the sentencing was for the Attempted Rape for which Bean was convicted, and that he could not sentence him for Reher’s murder.

“I cannot sentence him for things he was not convicted of,” said Donnell.

Donnell noted that Bean may be required to register as a sex offender, but noted a hearing may be needed in the future to establish such requirements.

Donnell said that the sentencing hearing was one of the most difficult hearings he has presided over in nearly 20 years as a judge.