For the second time, a Bay Shore man has been sent to prison for stabbing his wife to death in front of their 10-year-old daughter.
Elden MacFarlane, 48, was convicted of second-degree murder five years ago for the Oct. 21, 2005, death of Regina Jones MacFarlane, 39, after a harrowing trial that featured a 911 recording of the killing in progress while their daughter Nicolette Danzy screamed for help. MacFarlane didn't deny the crime, but said he had come to believe his wife was a "queen in hell" and that voices, certain colors and objects told him what to do.
An appellate court overturned his conviction in 2011, ruling that the trial judge mishandled jury selection. Last month, to avoid another emotional trial, Suffolk prosecutors allowed MacFarlane to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in return for a 25-year sentence.
After his initial conviction, MacFarlane was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
As he did five years ago, MacFarlane, a Green Beret who served in Operation Desert Storm, insisted Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Riverhead that he loved his wife and that paranoid schizophrenia drove his actions.
"I am not a common criminal, nor is what I did to my beautiful wife a common crime," he said in a statement read by his attorney, Craig McElwee of North Babylon.
MacFarlane apologized in the statement for what he did and said he despairs that he will never see his two daughters again. "I can never explain why Daddy took Mommy away from them. Words can never express the depth of my remorse."
The victim's family and prosecutors said there was more than mental illness behind the killing. There had been an undercurrent of abuse in the marriage long before the knife came out, they said.
"Mr. MacFarlane was an abusive, cunning husband who knew what he was doing," Robert Jones, Regina MacFarlane's brother, told the judge.
"Things are a lot different from what he said," brother-in-law Clayton Moore said outside court. "He had a history."
Whatever the cause of the killing, State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen said the effects of it have been profound.
"That person's death is felt forever," he said, as he imposed the sentence. "It is a devastating, devastating loss that will never be rectified."
Considering both the crime and the ability to avoid reliving the case again in a second trial, Cohen said the sentence is "highly appropriate."
To the victim's family, he said, "it is the right decision. It brings an end to litigation in this matter."
Moore said the couple's daughters have managed to cope and are both in college.
"The girls are doing well," he said.