The detectives who arrested Menzies Hallett for the killing of Rodney Tahu in August 1979 say they did not expect anything less than a life sentence.
Hallett was sentenced on Friday to prison for life without a non parole period for shooting Mr Tahu, a service station attendant, in Turangi on 16 August, 1979.
In sentencing at the High Court in Rotorua, Justice Duffy described Hallett, 72, as callous and brutal, and said he had failed to show remorse.
The officer in charge of the Taupo-Turangi CIB in 1979, Doug Scott, said the life sentence was mandatory and completely justified.
He said the sentence brings a sense of finality.
Rex Hawkins, another investigator, said Hallett will be eligible for parole in 10 years, but he hopes he does not get it.