‘I just can’t believe what you did to my child,’ victim’s mother says to convicted killer

A St. Paris woman was sentenced Thursday in connection to the October death of her son’s ex-girlfriend.

Valerie Rider, 52, was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison and a $2,500 fine in the death of Whitney Hostler, who was reported missing shortly before her body was found.

Rider offered an apology during her sentencing before Champaign County Common Pleas Court Judge Nick Selvaggio.

“I want to say how very sorry I am for what I did after Whitney’s death. I am extremely sorry for my actions,” Rider said during her sentencing. “I express my deepest sympathies for her family.”

Valerie Rider reads a statment during the sentencing for her murder conviction in Champaign County Common Pleas Court Thursday. The victim's father, Charles Hostler, is listening in the background. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Valerie Rider reads a statment during the sentencing for her murder conviction in Champaign County Common Pleas Court Thursday. The victim's father, Charles Hostler, is listening in the background. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Hostler, 25, was reported missing Oct. 1 after she had not been in contact with family or friends, and was last seen Sept. 30, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies found Hostler’s body in a wooded ravine near Kiser Lake Road shortly after she was reported missing. The investigation into Hostler’s death led to Rider and her husband, Rodney Rider, who were arrested Oct. 2.

Hostler lived with the Rider family and shared a 2-year-old daughter with Randy Rider, the couple’s son and her ex-boyfriend.

ExplorePREVIOUS: Champaign Co. mom convicted in murder of son’s ex-girlfriend to be sentenced April 1

Hostler’s father, Charles Hostler, and mother, Kim Long, both fighting through their tears, addressed Rider during the hearing.

Charles Hostler started out by asking those in the court room to think of things they have experienced with their own child, then to imagine “all those things are now gone.”

“We will never be able to (have experiences) with our daughter. Never share another holiday with her... or hold her again,” he said. “We will never be able to see her again.”

Charles Hostler, the father of murder victim Whitney Hostler, reads a tearful statement during the sentencing of Valerie Rider Thursday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Charles Hostler, the father of murder victim Whitney Hostler, reads a tearful statement during the sentencing of Valerie Rider Thursday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Kim Long started with the day she heard her daughter was missing.

“You took someone who meant the absolute world to us,” she said. “I just can’t believe you did this to my child. We will never be the same.”

Kim Long, left, the mother of murder victim Whitney Hostler, and Chelsea Hostler, Witney's sister, read a tearful statement during the sentencing of Valerie Rider Thursday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Kim Long, left, the mother of murder victim Whitney Hostler, and Chelsea Hostler, Witney's sister, read a tearful statement during the sentencing of Valerie Rider Thursday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

During her trial in February, Rider was found guilty of murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse and three counts of possession of criminal tools. She was found not guilty of aggravated murder.

Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said during sentencing that Valerie Rider “acted in a manner that was selfish” and “shows no remorse for her conduct.”

Talebi requested the court impose a maximum sentence of 21 years to life to be served consecutively.

Defense Attorney Gregory Harvey said that Valerie Rider did “show genuine remorse for Miss Hostler and her family.”

Harvey requested the court impose a sentence of 17 years to life in prison.

Rider was sentenced to 15 years to life with a $1,000 fine for murder; 36 months and a $500 fine for tampering with evidence plus one year for the firearm specification;12 months and a $500 fine for gross abuse of a corpse; six months each for two counts of possession of criminal tools, to be served at the Tri County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg, with a $250 fine each; and six months and a $500 fine for a third count of possession of criminal tools.

Rider’s prison sentence will run consecutively and will start after she serves time ordered at Tri County Regional Jail. She has already served 182 days in jail.

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Selvaggio said the court considered the seriousness of Rider’s conduct.

“The defendant lacks genuine remorse for her offenses,” he said during the sentencing.

Rider must also enroll as a violent offender within 10 days after her release from prison. She is required to enroll annually and for at least 10 years.

Rodney Rider, Randy Rider and the couple’s other three children, testified during Valerie Rider’s trial.

Rodney Rider, 54, testified that he saw his wife dragging a duffle bag, with Hostler inside, across the floor of their house after he woke up from a nap. When he asked what she was doing, she said she and Whitney had an argument and she was dead. The couple later put the duffle bag in their truck and drove around for hours until they found a place to dispose of it, according to his testimony.

Rodney Rider pleaded guilty in November to tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and possession of criminal tools, court records show.

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He was sentenced earlier this month to 36 months in prison, with 158 days of jail credit, and a $750 fine. After prison, he will be on post-release control supervision, same as parole, for up to three years.

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