“He was evil”: Fred Tokars’ sister-in-law says murder of her sister still haunts family

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The sister of the victim in one of Georgia's most notorious murders says the recent death of the man who set up her murder has done nothing to ease her pain.

Fred Tokars was a Cobb County attorney who paid a man to kill his wife, Sara Tokars, more than 25 years ago. She was shot to death with a shotgun blast in front of her two young sons in 1992. Fred Tokars was later charged in setting up the contract killing. He died earlier this month in prison.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne talked to Krissy Pennington about how painful the loss of her sister is all these years later.

"When Fred had Sara murdered, our entire family was sentenced to a life of just sorrow and trying to be strong every day, especially for the boys," Pennington said.

She said that learning that Fred Tokars had died in federal prison did nothing to change what he did to her sister.

"All she ever wanted to be was a great mom and have a family, and it was all robbed from her and the boys," Pennington said.

Pennington said Ricky and Mike Tokars, who were 6 and 4 years old at the time of their mother's death, tried not to let the murder define their lives.

But for Mike Tokars, the sadness stayed with him. He died last month in California at just 31 years old of a pulmonary embolism.

[RELATED: Friends feel renewed sadness for sons of metro Atlanta man who had wife murdered]

Pennington said she's sorry that Fred Tokars lived so long and she hoped that his trail would have led to the death penalty, which it did not.

“He was manipulative. He was evil,” Pennington said.

Fred Tokars’ longtime lawyer Jerry Froelich told Winne that Tokars was in a witness security program because after he was convicted, he helped put two people on death row in a case unrelated to his. He helped secure a murder conviction in another case at risk to himself. Froelich believes his client had earned an early release he didn’t get.

Pennington said he was just trying to manipulate the system and nothing he could’ve done could have redeemed him in an earthly sense for what he did to her sister.

“Luckily, it’s up to God, not me,” Pennington said.

Pennington said her family is a big believer in the powers of prayer, and it was the community support that got them through the most difficult time of their lives.

“Right after Sara’s murder, total strangers would come up to my family and me and tell us they were praying for us,” Pennington said. “I’m convinced that’s the only reason why we’ve been able to survive all of this.”

Fred Tokars had been in a wheelchair for a decade due to a neurological disease when he died at age 67. His cause of death hasn’t been released.