Husband Who Buried His Wife Alive Sentenced To Life

( — An Arizona man whose wife was buried alive near their home in 2017 was sentenced earlier this month after pleading guilty before his trial.

According to a May 17 press release, the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office said that County Superior Court Judge David Mackey sentenced 62-year-old David Pagniano on May 9 to 16 and a half years for kidnapping, fraud, and forgery, and life in prison without parole for the murder of his wife Sandra Pagniano.

Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane said in the press release that his office was seeking the death penalty in the case given the “horrific circumstances” surrounding Sandra Pagniano’s abduction and murder.

The 39-year-old Sandra disappeared in May 2017. While the couple was going through a divorce at the time, they remained living in the same home with their two daughters.

Sandra’s body was found several days later, bound in packing tape and buried in a remote area about ten miles from the estranged couple’s Prescott home. The medical examiner later confirmed that Sandra had been buried alive.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said there was evidence that Sandra struggled to free herself from the grave and could have been conscious for as long as five minutes before she suffocated and died.

Cellphone evidence confirmed that her estranged husband was located in the gravesite area in the days leading up to Sandra’s disappearance and also on the night she went missing.

Investigators also found two notes that were included in the divorce filing. The notes, purportedly written by Sandra Pagniano, explained that she was leaving her husband, giving him custody of their daughters, and leaving him the house, and her vehicles. However, a forensic examination revealed that both notes were written by her estranged husband.

Pagniano was initially arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. A grand jury later indicted him on one count of first-degree murder.

On the eve of his trial, David Pagniano pleaded guilty and allowed Judge Mackey to decide his sentencing without first arranging a plea agreement with prosecutors.

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