Robert Serritella sentenced to 45 years in prison for 1992 murder of Skokie teen David Chereck

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Robert Serritella, 76, was sentenced to 45 years in prison Thursday for the 1992 murder of Skokie teen David Chereck.

Investigators lost track of Serritella for years, but it was an ABC7 I-Team interview that helped police make an arrest.

RELATED: I-Team original coverage of David Chereck murder

Chereck was an only child. His mother said in court Thursday that Serritella took more than her son, but also her grandchildren and family legacy. With the 45 year sentence, Esther Chereck said she can now move on.

"Justice was done today," Esther said. "That's all I've ever wanted, was justice."

RELATED: 'He can't hurt another boy ever again': David Chereck's mother reacts to Robert Serritella's conviction

Chereck was found strangled on New Year's Day, 1992, in the Linne Woods Forest Preserve in Morton Grove, after a night at a bowling alley with his friends. The crime scene was not far from his family's home in north suburban Skokie. From early on, Serritella was considered a prime suspect in the case after he came forward as a witness, but then he disappeared.

He was found by the I-Team's Chuck Goudie in Las Vegas in 1998.

"I looked in my rear view mirror, and there was another white car just similar to mine that this boy jumped into, and as they jumped in, I took off, and they took off, and they passed me," Serritella told Goudie in Las Vegas.

RELATED: Justice delayed: Suspect tracked down by I-Team in Skokie teen's murder on trial 27 years after crime

In the 1998 interview, Serritella provided numerous details about the crime scene and victim. That interview was part of the prosecution's case and audio of it was played for the jury.

"I was very pleased that they used some of the statements from that in the trial and thanked Chuck on the record. He deserved that thanks," Esther said.

Before being sentenced to 45 years in prison, Serritella told the court he was molested as a boy and denied that he killed David. For Esther, they're just words.

"I'm glad I lived long enough to see this, even if my mother and my husband didn't," she said.

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Serritella was sentenced under 1992 guidelines, which means he could be up for parole in 17 years when he's 93. His attorney said he's in failing health.

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