Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave

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Arizona man sentenced to life for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave. Shocking crime draws severe penalty

Prescott Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Burying Wife Alive

 

Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave

In a harrowing case that shocked the community of Prescott, Arizona, David Michael Pagniano, 62, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the brutal murder of his wife, Sandra Pagniano, in 2017. Sandra, aged 39 at the time of her death, was buried alive in a hand-dug grave near their residence.

 

Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane expressed the gravity of the crime, stating, "My office pursued the death penalty in this case because of the horrific circumstances surrounding the abduction and murder of a young mother."

 

The tragedy unfolded in May 2017, amidst Sandra's divorce proceedings from David. Despite their separation, they continued to reside together with their two young daughters. Sandra's disappearance prompted a thorough investigation by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, leading to a large-scale search effort.

 

Eventually, Sandra's body was discovered bound and gagged with packing tape in a remote grave. The medical examiner's report revealed the horrific truth: Sandra had been buried alive. McGrane emphasized the horror of Sandra's final moments, stating, "The evidence revealed she vigorously struggled while she was in the grave and was likely conscious for up to five minutes after being buried."

 

Detectives uncovered crucial evidence, including notes purportedly written by Sandra before her disappearance, in which she stated her intention to leave David and grant him custody of their children. Forensic analysis confirmed Sandra as the author of these letters.

 

Cellphone data placed David in the vicinity of the grave site both before and on the night of Sandra's disappearance, further implicating him in the crime. Faced with overwhelming evidence, David pleaded guilty to murder on the eve of his trial.

 

In sentencing, David received life imprisonment for murder and an additional 16 ½ years for charges including kidnapping, forgery, and fraud. McGrane emphasized the commitment of his office to pursue justice, stating, "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."

 

The sentencing marks the end of a traumatic chapter for Sandra's family, providing some measure of closure amidst the profound loss they have endured.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave
Arizona man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave
Arizona man sentenced to life for burying wife alive in hand-dug grave. Shocking crime draws severe penalty
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