A Morristown NJ man convicted of killing his wife in 2008 was recently denied an appeal.
The defendant was convicted of drowning his 26-year-old wife in a bathtub at the couple’s Morristown home. The murder was preceded by an argument at the house.
The married couple’s 8-year-old daughter witnessed the killing. During the trial, she testified about the events on the day of the murder. The daughter was awakened by her mother screaming. When the daughter heard splashing sounds coming from the bathroom, she went into the bathroom and saw the defendant hold down the victim in the bathtub. The victim was lying face-up in the tub while the defendant pushed her face down and trying to keep her from getting out of the tub. When the daughter inquired about what was happening, the defendant told her to return to her bedroom.
After the trial, the defendant was convicted of first degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child, hindering apprehension, and tampering with evidence. He was ultimately sentenced to 50 years in New Jersey State Prison, with a minimum term of 38 years before he is eligible for parole.
The defendant later appealed the verdict and the sentence. He stated a number of bases for the appeal, including alleged retaliation by prosecutors because he refused to accept a plea agreement. The defendant also claimed that his right to a speedy trial had been violated because the trial start date was delayed for more than three years, that the judge’s instruction to the jury was erroneous because it failed to include accidental death as an option, and that the sentence handed down was excessive because his dependent children would suffer.
The appellate court denied the appeal and upheld both the conviction and the sentence. The court specifically rejected the idea that the sentence was excessively harsh; the court noted that the defendant had created the conditions that led to his imprisonment in the first place.
For more information about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Appeal Denied for Morristown Man Convicted of Drowning Wife in Bathtub.”