Merced man gets 16 years to life in prison for killing wife

MERCED, Calif.

A judge sentenced Rodolfo "Rudy" Romero for stabbing his wife to death. He'll be eligible for parole in 16 years.

/*Rudy Romero*/ showed little emotion as he waited to be sentenced for killing his wife in December of 2010. But others cried in the courtroom as Diane Romero's sister recalled the night before the murder.

Sharon Reid said, "We said I love you to one another, my sister went back to her house with her family."

The next day, Merced police found Diane's body in her backyard pool. Family members say the couple was having marital problems, and that Rudy stabbed his wife to death in her bed as their sons slept in another room.

Reid said, "My nephews did not go to school that day, instead they were subjected to shock, confusion, chaos, terror, and the disbelief that they had lost both of their parents."

Diane's death also devastated her students and co-workers at Peterson Elementary School. Her step-father spoke directly to Rudy about his thoughts on the proper punishment.

"Too many days a week are saddened by what you did," Skip Harris said. "I think you should remain in your prison hell forever, just like Diane is gone forever."

Romero pleaded no contest to second degree murder in May. During this hearing, the judge sentenced him to life in prison, with no chance of parole for the first 16 years.

Judge Marc Garcia said, "Mr. Romero, as far as you're concerned, and your cowardly, selfish, insidious and evil acts, I don't really have any words for you."

Romero had a chance to speak in court, but his attorney said he was too emotional to make a full statement.

Jeffrey Tennenbaum said, "He's just incredibly sorry, and what more could he possibly say? He's very sorry for what happened and he's eternally thankful to the maternal grandparents for supporting his boys."

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