90-Year-Old Sentenced for Bludgeoning Wife to Death

September 8, 2010 Updated Sep 8, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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September 8, 2010 Updated Sep 8, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - John Bunz, 90, was sentenced to 17 and a half years to Life in prison in court Wednesday for bludgeoning his 89-year-old wife to death with a hammer earlier this year.

Bunz stumbled into the courtroom Wednesday morning, almost falling over. A wheelchair was brought in for him when he left the courtroom.

Bunz had pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in July after admitting to hitting his wife, 89-year-old Virginia Bunz about 30 times with a hammer inside their Amherst retirement village apartment back in March.

The defense says Bunz lived a long life abiding by the law, was a good father to his children, and a dear husband. What happened in March was an isolated incident.

Prosecutors say otherwise and that the crime apparently happened after Bunz and his wife had an argument. "It really is a tragedy but when you come down to it this is a crime of extraordinary violence. Mr. Bunz struck his wife with a hammer approximately 30 times," Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said.