Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying his wife alive – La Opinion

Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying his wife alive – La Opinion

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Authorities reported that a Prescott, Arizona, man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to murdering his wife by burying her alive in 2017.

Yavapai County Prosecutor Dennis McGrane said David Michael Pagniano, 62, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his wife, Sandra Pagniano, 39, who was buried alive in a hand-excavated grave near his house.

“My office sought the death penalty in this case due to the horrific circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and murder of a young mother,” McGrane said, according to Fox News.

Sandra Pagniano disappeared while in the process of divorcing her husband in May 2017, authorities said.

While the two were separated, they lived in the same house with their two young daughters.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the circumstances of Sandra Pagniano’s suspicious disappearance, leading to a massive manhunt.

Sandra Pagniano’s body was found bound and gagged with packing tape in a hand-dug grave in a remote area near Prescott. According to the medical examiner, she had been buried alive.

“The evidence revealed that she struggled vigorously while in the grave and was probably conscious for up to five minutes after being buried,” McGrane said.

Detectives conducting the investigation discovered two notes filed in the divorce proceedings after Sandra Pagniano’s disappearance, which she had allegedly written herself.

The letters stated that Sandra Pagniano was leaving and giving David Pagniano the vehicles, the house and custody of her children. Forensic specialists examined the letters and confirmed that they had been written by the woman.

Additional evidence presented included cell phone data showing David Pagniano was in the vicinity of the grave where his wife was found a few days before his death, as well as the night he disappeared.

McGrane said Pagniano pleaded guilty to murder the night before his trial was scheduled to start, leaving the sentencing decision in the judge’s hands.

David Pagniano was sentenced to life in prison for murderas well as an additional 16 and a half years for kidnapping, forgery and fraud.

“I hope the life sentence brings some closure to the victim’s family. “I want to be clear that my office will vigorously prosecute anyone who commits a violent crime in Yavapai County, and we will continue to pursue the death penalty in appropriate cases,” McGrane said.

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