Man Gets Life In Prison After Burying His Wife Alive

( – In Prescott, Arizona, a man named David Michael Pagniano, 62, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2017 murder of his wife, Sandra Pagniano. Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane announced the sentence, highlighting the horrific nature of the crime.

David Pagniano pleaded guilty to killing his 39-year-old wife, who was buried alive in a grave he dug near their home. Attorney McGrane explained, “My office pursued the death penalty because of the horrific circumstances surrounding the abduction and murder of a young mother.”

The tragedy began in May 2017, when Sandra Pagniano went missing. At the time, she was in the process of divorcing David. Despite their separation, they continued living together in the same house with their two young daughters.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into Sandra’s disappearance, sparking a massive search effort. Eventually, Sandra’s body was found bound and gagged with packing tape in a hand-dug grave in a remote area near Prescott.

A medical examiner determined that Sandra had been buried alive. “The evidence revealed she vigorously struggled while she was in the grave and was likely conscious for up to five minutes after being buried,” McGrane stated.

During the investigation, detectives found two notes in the divorce proceedings that appeared to be from Sandra. These letters claimed that Sandra was leaving and giving David their vehicles, house, and custody of their children. Forensic experts later confirmed that Sandra had indeed written the notes.

Cellphone data provided crucial evidence, showing that David had been near the grave site just days before Sandra’s death and on the night she disappeared.

David Pagniano confessed to the murder the night before his trial was set to start. As a result, the judge was responsible for his sentencing. Alongside the life sentence for murder, David received an additional 16 and a half years for kidnapping, forgery, and fraud.

“I hope the life sentence brings some closure to the victim’s family,” McGrane said. “I want to be clear that my office will vigorously prosecute anyone who commits a violent crime in Yavapai County, and we will continue to pursue the death penalty in appropriate cases.”