New York mother sentenced for strangling teen daughter
WHITE PLAINS, New York
WHITE PLAINS, New York (Reuters) - A suburban New York mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for strangling her teen-aged daughter who she said had "pushed my last button."
Stacy Pagli, 38, sat expressionless at her sentencing for the February 2010 death of her daughter Marissa, 18, who had been attending Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.
Pagli pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February in a plea agreement with prosecutors.
John Pagli, Marissa's father, delivered a tearful speech at the sentencing, often pausing to weep.
"To this day, I am still learning how many people this senseless crime has affected," he said. "Now I am forced to live with a broken heart that is in beyond repair."
The Pagli family has another daughter who was 3 years old at the time of her sister's death.
"This child hasn't even begun to understand what her mother has done," said Pagli, a maintenance supervisor at the college, where the family lived in an on-campus apartment. "I dread the day I have to sit down and explain it to her."
Pagli told police she and Marissa had argued, and "she pushed my last button," according to court documents.
Pagli strangled her daughter and attempted to commit suicide by cutting her wrist and hanging herself on a doorknob, documents said. She tried to commit suicide again in custody.
She looked straight ahead as her husband spoke, betraying no emotion. She declined to speak during the proceedings.
State Supreme Court Judge Richard Molea said he was struck by the magnitude of the tragedy.
"There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That's how tragic a loss it is," he said before sentencing Pagli to 20 years in prison.
Psychiatric experts for the prosecution and defense said Pagli, whose father, brother and several relatives committed suicide, was extremely emotionally disturbed, depressed and emotionally volatile at the time of the killing.
"The fight exploded a bomb that had been growing for some time, to which she was oblivious," said defense attorney Allan Focarile. "She was sick and didn't know how to ask for help."
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)
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