Monday, May 24, 2010

Suburban Cincinnati man who dismembered wife after killing her sentenced to 26 years to life

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A man whose wife's torso was found in a garbage can at their home last year the day after he reported her missing was sentenced Tuesday [May 18] to 26 years to life in prison for murdering and dismembering her.

John Strutz, 31, of suburban Cincinnati, was convicted April 20 of one count of murder, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of abuse of a corpse in the slaying of Kristan Strutz, 28. Prosecutors said Strutz cut up his wife's body after killing her. Her torso was found in a trash bag in a garbage can outside the couple's suburban Delhi Township home Aug. 16, a day after her husband reported her missing.

Strutz testified that he did not kill his wife and repeated that claim Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. "You have made a mistake," he told Judge John West, who heard the case after Strutz waived a jury trial. "I am innocent."

Strutz acknowledged the prosecution's claim that the couple had marital problems but said they had been seeing a counselor and were again sleeping in the same bed. He also said that while he had seen a couple of women, he did not have sex with them or tell them he was getting a divorce, as some of them testified.

Assistant Prosecutor Megan Shanahan called Strutz a "sick degenerate." West told a defense lawyer after the sentencing that he thought Strutz was "evil to the core, and I don't say that lightly."

A message seeking comment from defense attorney Simon Groner was left at his office Tuesday. William Mathews II, Strutz's other attorney, said only that the sentence "wasn't any great surprise." Strutz repeatedly answered "I don't know" when questioned about what he thought happened to his wife.

A deputy coroner had testified that the cause of death could not be determined but the death was ruled a homicide, partly because the body was dismembered and an effort made to get rid of it. The couple has three daughters, and Kristan Strutz also had a son.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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