A man who fatally beat and stabbed his schoolteacher wife inside their northern New Jersey home has been sentenced to life in prison.

A Bergen County jury had convicted Peter Shanley of murder charges in January.

Defense lawyers had sought a lesser sentence, arguing that the 60-year-old Dumont resident was overwhelmed by passion provocation when he attacked Debra Shanley in April 2010. They claimed that in the months before the attack, his wife had unexpectedly joined a motorcycle club and began drifting away from him.

The couple had been married for 35 years and had two adult children.

 

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