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Rapist found guilty of murder of Sarah Strobel gets 25 to life

Fernando Romualdo, 29, of Huntington Station, was sentenced

Fernando Romualdo, 29, of Huntington Station, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in the killing of Sarah Strobel, Suffolk County prosecutors said. Credit: SCPD

A convicted Suffolk rapist found guilty of killing a woman four years ago was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Fernando Romualdo, 29, of Huntington Station, was convicted of second-degree murder in June after a two-week trial.

The body of the victim, Sarah Strobel, 23, was discovered by a hiker Oct. 3, 2013, at the Froehlich Farm Nature Preserve in Huntington Station.

Romualdo was in an upstate prison for raping a juvenile female when he was charged in 2016 with killing Strobel, who was also a Huntington Station resident and a 2008 graduate of Whitman High School.

“While we understand the jurors’ decision, we feel the verdict was based, in part, on sympathy and passion and not solely on the weight of the evidence,” his attorney Craig McElwee, of Hauppauge, said in a statement after the verdict.

Romualdo, a cocaine addict at the time, denied killing Strobel and did not remember her, although he did go to a certain Huntington spot where Strobel had occasionally stayed, McElwee said.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota at that time said his office would press for the maximum sentence — the punishment Romualdo ultimately received.

“The victim was strangled and there were signs on her body of bruising and significant trauma,” Spota said in a statement.

Romualdo had been sentenced to 3 years in October 2015 for second-degree rape.

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