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Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for 2017 death of his wife, who was buried alive

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2017 death of his wife, who was buried alive in a hand-dug grave near his home. them, the authorities announced.

Seven years after the murder, David Pagniano decided to plead guilty before his trial began and allowed a judge to determine his sentence without a plea agreement.

Pagniano, 62, was also sentenced May 9 to 16 1/2 years in prison for kidnapping, forgery and fraud, according to the Yavapai County Prosecutor’s Office.

“My office pursued the death penalty in this case because of the horrific circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and murder of a young mother,” County Attorney Dennis McGrane said in a statement.

Authorities said Sandra Pagniano, 39, disappeared while in the process of divorcing her husband in May 2017.

They said she and David Pagniano were separated but still lived in the same house with their two young daughters.

Sandra Pagniano’s body was found bound and gagged with duct tape in a grave in a rural area north of Prescott and the county medical examiner’s office confirmed she had been buried alive.

County sheriff’s officials said evidence showed Sandra Pagniano struggled vigorously while in the grave and may have been conscious for up to five minutes.

They said phone evidence showed David Pagniano was in the grave area days before his wife’s disappearance and the night of the kidnapping.

Detectives recovered two notes filed in the divorce case after Sandra Pagniano’s disappearance, allegedly written by her.

The notes indicated that she was leaving David Pagniano and entrusting him with her vehicles, her home and custody of their children.

But authorities said a forensic examination of the notes revealed they were written by David Pagniano.

A grand jury indicted him on first-degree murder charges after his wife’s body was discovered in a remote area 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of the couple’s home near Prescott in north-central Arkansas. Arizona.


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