Friday, September 26, 2008

Cross country RVer sentenced to 15 years for choking wife to death

A California man who choked to death his wife on August 14, 1992, a day after her 53rd birthday was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday, a term considered to be life equivalent due to his failing health. Robert Kirkup, now 68, was arrested after one of the three daughters suspected her father's involvement in her mom's disappearance. Kirkup was arrested in San Berndino county in June after the daughter urged the local authorities' newly formed Cold Case Team to investigate her mother's disapearance.

During the sentencing, Susan Weller, one of three daughters from the Kirkup marriage, spoke of her father’s “awful history” of domestic violence against her mother as the family moved from Michigan to New Jersey to California.

Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman had pressed for the maximum sentence on the pre-indictment plea in the missing-victim case. He told the judge Kirkup’s poor health means he is likely to die in prison.

After the sentencing, Friedman said Kirkup, formerly of Big River, Calif., has been unable to show authorities exactly where in Genesee County he buried his wife after fatally choking her, allegedly after she came at him with a knife in their camper.

Genesee County Judge Robert C. Noonan inposed the maximum for 2nd degree manslaughter because prosecutors could not prove more serious murder charges.

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