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New York Husband, 90, Jailed For 17 Years For Hammering Wife, 89, To Death

New York :  90-year-old John Bunz was sentenced to seventeen-and-a-half years in prison for bludgeoning his 89-year-old wife to death with a hammer, The Daily Mail reported. The man  battered his wife Virginia, 30 times
PTI September 10, 2010 16:24 IST
PTI
New York :  90-year-old John Bunz was sentenced to seventeen-and-a-half years in prison for bludgeoning his 89-year-old wife to death with a hammer, The Daily Mail reported. The man  battered his wife Virginia, 30 times on the head and arms with a hammer following a row at the retirement village flat they shared in Amherst, New York.

A relative discovered the woman's body together with Bunz, who was suffering from self-inflicted injuries after an apparent suicide attempt. On Thursday, a frail looking Bunz had to be helped to his chair in Buffalo's State Supreme Court before sentencing.



The retired chemist pleaded guilty to reduced charges of first-degree manslaughter in July. He had faced a more serious second-degree murder charge, but prosecutors agreed to the plea because of his age.'I'm extremely sorry about what happened,' he told State Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia, who also ordered five years of 'post-release supervision' by the courts.

Defence lawyer David Steinhilber told the judge the apparent murder-suicide attempt was a 'horrible, tragic anomaly'. The killing 'will forever' define Bunz, an otherwise good man, husband and father, Steinhilber said. Prosecutor Paul Bonanno told the judge that Bunz's son and daughter had agreed to the plea deal and spoke of the 'extremely violent nature' of the attack.

Bunz had gone through court-ordered mental tests both before and after his guilty plea to ensure he was mentally fit to be sentenced. The killer will be 112  years old by the time he finishes his parole.

Detective Lt Richard S Walter of Amerherst Police said that nobody will ever know exactly what happened but that after they got up that morning the Bunzes started arguing over 'her health care issues'. He explained: 'She gets agitated, he gets agitated. At some point, he gets a hammer from somewhere in the home.'It was an extremely violent crime scene.”

Virginia  Bunz died from the hammer beating she received, but her husband then fetched a pillow and held it over her face 'to make sure the job was done'. He then grabbed a kitchen knife and cut himself on his neck, wrists and above the eyes in what Detective Lt Walker said was an apparent suicide attempt.

The pair were found by their daughter at 10am. After Bunz was sentenced, Erie County District Attorney Frank A Sedita III said that he understands that this is effectively a 'death sentence' for the 90-year-old. But he said Bunz deserved a lengthy prison sentence because of the violent ferocity of his crime.  

Sedita said: 'This was not a mercy killing. This was not a gentle killing. This was not, as far as we know, part of any murder-suicide pact. 'This was an extraordinarily violent act.

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