Apr 5, 2016 2:49 PM

1 year later, Merrimack husband pleads guilty to murdering his wife

NASHUA - A Merrimack man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges a year after he killed his wife.

Joseph Lawrence appeared in court earlier this month where his lawyers argued he was not in his right mind when he pulled the trigger, but on Tuesday he was back in court and gave up his right to trial when he confessed that he killed his wife.

“He became suspicious that Darleen became involved with another man,” said prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan.

Prosecutors painted a picture of an unhappy marriage and a fearful Darleen in the weeks leading up to her death - the morning of April 30, 2015, she finally confronted Lawrence, telling him it was over.

“He raised the gun, pointed it at Darleen,” said Queenan reiterating prior testimony. “He told her she looked good in her suit, and pulled the trigger which shot her in the neck, then he shot at her a second time to - quote - 'finish her off.'”

Lawrence is facing 28 years to life in prison and initially gave officers an interview stating that he was unsure how his wife came to pass.

The neighbors - who thought they knew the couple so well - remain in shock about Darleen's unhappiness and infidelity and Joseph’s violent reaction.

“I am sad that Darleen is dead and died that way,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. “No woman, no person deserves to die that way.”

But some also feel badly for Joseph Lawrence. “I’m also sad that Joe is convicted of killing her and will spend the rest of his life in prison,” said one neighbor.

Lawrence is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

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