JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Michael Haim, who denies killing his wife and burying her body in their backyard in 1993, was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
A Florida man convicted last month of killing his wife in 1993 will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He was a suspect in the case for decades, but when his son found his dead mother's remains in the backyard of his boyhood home, prosecutors finally got the evidence they needed.
One day after Bonnie Haim's birthday, her family got justice.
Michael Haim was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Bonnie 26 years ago.
“We really feel justice has been served we are now going to be able to heal," Elizabeth Peak, Bonnie Haim’s sister, said.
For days, the prosecution presented dozens of documents, evidence and photos. Though they won, it was initially challenging.
"Any time you have a cold case, evidence collection has changed over the years,” prosecutor Alan Mizrahi said. “The degradation of evidence and the time passage makes the prosecution of cold cases very difficult."
Mizrahi say Bonnie's remains were critical to the trial.
"Finding her in the location that we found her was the key piece of evidence,” Mizrahi said. “Law enforcement always suspected Michael Haim. He was found responsible in a civil court, and we just needed the one piece of evidence to make it proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Now, Bonnie's family will work to move forward.
"We got justice, but we don't have Bonnie,” Peak said. “So we are just going take it one day at a time, learn what it feels like to not have to keep searching anymore."
The sentencing came down the day before Bonnie Haim would have turned 50 years old.
Michael Haim's attorney says he will appeal the sentence, and he wants a new trial.
Haim's son, Aaron Fraser, was a part of the prosecution's case.
As a boy, Fraser would play with a toy dump truck in his backyard in Jacksonville, Florida. As a man, excavating behind his childhood home in 2014 as part of a renovation, he wielded a shovel -- and discovered the yard was a clandestine grave.
Fraser would find the skull and bones of his mother, who had gone missing in January 1993.
During Michael Haim's trial, Fraser testified that he has been in therapy since childhood. He described a "very uneasy" encounter in which his paternal grandparents told him that they loved him but that he had been "brainwashed." He also spoke about finding his mother's skull in the yard of his childhood home.
"It was very tough," he said. "I think everybody can imagine, even if it's not a loved one, finding a skull and picking it up and what that would do to somebody. Not to mention, that it was your mother."