Merced man who murder his wife sentenced to 50 years to life

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A sad day in court as family members saw their father sent to prison just one year after he murdered their mother. (KFSN)

A sad day in court as family members saw their father sent to prison just one year after he murdered their mother.

Crisanto Bedolla didn't argue with the judge as he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the murder of his estranged wife.

"We never contested that he shot and killed his wife, we never contested it was wrong, that it was a crime, it was, only a question of the degree of wrongfulness," said Chris Loethen, Deputy Public Defender.

The Merced man was arrested after authorities said he walked into a family barbecue and shot and killed his wife. The 63-year-old was upset that after 40 years of marriage Lucia Zarco left him for another, younger, man.

"It's a terrible thing. This was committed in front of their many children and grandchildren who are going to have to deal with that the rest of their lives," said Matthew Creeger, Deputy District Attorney.

Prosecutors said Bedolla admitted in court that killing Zarco was the only way for him to move on.

During the trial, Bedolla's attorney argued he should instead be convicted of manslaughter, saying it was a crime of passion.

"I heard there was a split between the jury at least for the first day and most of the second day. I don't know what the split was, but we appreciate the time they put into this case," said Loethen.

After deliberating for a day and a half the jury ultimately found him guilty of first-degree murder. Acknowledging he thought out and planned the killing. He was also convicted of using a gun during the crime.

"We had strong evidence in this case and it showed that he murdered his wife with premeditation, and did so with a firearm," said Creeger.

The crime tore this family apart. The couple had eight children and even more grandchildren.

"They're visiting him at the jail. It's real tough. It's a no-win situation. Do you come in the courtroom and watch your dad be sentenced to life in prison? Do you come to the courtroom, think about your mom's death? It's a no-win situation," said Loethen.

Bedolla must serve 50 years of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.

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