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NJ Cop Convicted in Wife’s Death is Released

A former southern New Jersey police officer who was sent to prison for fatally shooting his wife during an argument in their home has been released from custody.

The Daily Journal of Vineland reports former Millville police Sgt. Robert Vanaman was released Friday from a state-approved halfway house. He will now be on supervised release for three years and could be returned to prison if he doesn’t follow specific conditions regarding his release.

(Credit: ThinkStock)

Vanaman initially received an eight-year sentence for manslaughter and another year for evidence tampering when he was sentenced in May 2009. But a state appellate court rejected that term in 2011, saying the sentencing judge inappropriately considered Vanaman’s job while deciding his prison term.

The judge eventually reduced the manslaughter sentence by two years and took one day off the evidence tampering term.

The now-45-year-old Vanaman had pleaded guilty in March 2009, just days before his murder trial was to start.

He initially claimed he had acted in self-defense after his wife grabbed a knife and came at him in a threatening manner in May 2006. But Vanaman later admitted to shooting her twice with his service weapon as they argued about their crumbling marriage.

Vanaman also admitted cutting himself with a knife in an attempt to fool detectives into thinking his wife had attacked him.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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