Merrimack man convicted of wife's murder will likely spend life in prison
MERRIMACK - A Merrimack man, Joseph Lawrence, was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison after he gave up his right to trial when he confessed that he killed his wife in their Merrimack home in 2015.
It was a sad day in court as family members of Darleen Lawrence gathered to hear the sentencing of her husband Joseph Lawrence.
"She essentially predicted her own murder,” said Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan before the court Thursday.
The State painting a picture of a sad and terrified life Darleen lived with her husband. Family letters describing a life of fear read aloud in court.
“He is was and will always be selfish and controlling,” read a letter from the victim’s sister, Suzanne Petrucelli.
The letter went on to say, “you killed my sister and I hate you, well let's see what God has planned for you, the murderer.”
The victim’s family clearly upset one woman could barely bring herself to stay in the courtroom.
"I can't do it,” said the family member when asked to read an impact statement and excusing herself from the room.
Lawrence also took the stand as he diagramed their 44 years of marriage leading up to the day of his wife's murder.
"I'm sorry it happened I'm tormented. I can't sleep at night. I have nightmares and I know I did a horrible thing,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence said his wife was unhappy and chose to abandon their marriage for multiple affairs to cope. When the victim said she was leaving her husband, Lawrence admitted he ‘snapped’.
“I’m sorry it happened. I snapped, I lost control but I found out what my wife was doing all these years,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence will likely spend the rest of his life in prison as he was sentenced to 22 years to life. Lawrence currently is 63 years old.