Moments before a Bay Shore man was sentenced Monday to 20 years to life in prison for stabbing his estranged wife to death, he tearfully told her family he was sorry for doing it and thanked them for raising the son now left behind.
Wesley Paul, 40, was convicted last month of second-degree murder for the 2010 death of Monica Lisa Paul, who also was 40. He conceded that he killed her. But he argued at trial that he had acted in the midst of an extreme emotional disturbance after a fight over whether he could see his son more often. He had hoped the contention would persuade a jury to convict him of first-degree manslaughter.
"In my wildest dreams, I would never expect our lives to end this way," he said.
Family members were unimpressed.
"His apology fell on deaf ears," said David Robinson, a nephew of Lisa Paul, while others nodded in agreement.
Earlier, in a statement read by Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Dana Brown, the family said, "The callous slaying of Lisa by this murderous beast has caused trauma for our entire family."
After her son, 6 at the time of the killing, held a birthday party for his mother after she died, family members say he told them, "I guess she is dead and will stay dead, like Michael Jackson, because she didn't come to her own party."
The family and Brown asked state Supreme Court Justice William Condon to impose the maximum of 25 years to life.
Condon and defense attorney Ira Weissman said the case was puzzling because Wesley Paul had shown no signs of violence until the moment on Aug. 7, 2010, when he cut the carotid artery in his wife's neck while she showered. During the struggle, she bit off a chunk of his nose.
"It's easy to call him evil, and what he did is evil," Weissman said, but added that the rest of his client's life has been a decent one.
"It has been a very difficult sentence to contemplate," Condon said to Paul. "I believe your remorse is genuine. I think you're an otherwise good man. It's unfortunate a life has to be defined over the course of what took place in a minute."
But that minute left "a boy without a mother and essentially without a father," Condon said.
Paul had said he hoped he could some day reconnect with his son, and Condon told him, "The ultimate sentence may be [some day] rendered by your son."