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Prescott man sentenced to life in prison after burying wife alive in 2017

YAVAPAI COUNTY, Ariz. — A 62-year-old Prescott man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of his wife.

Sandra Pagnano, who was 39 at the time, went missing in May 2017. David Pagnano was arrested before her body was discovered buried in a secluded area of ​​Prescott.

Authorities said Sandra's body was bound with packing tape and gagged, and that suspect David Pagnano is believed to have buried her alive, and that she was conscious for about five minutes after being buried.

During the investigation, detectives found two notes purportedly written by Sandra, which stated she was moving out and handing over her car, house, and custody of the children to David, who was later determined to have written the notes.

“My office sought the death penalty in this case due to the horrific circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and murder of a young mother,” said Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane. “Sandra was abducted from her home while her children were sleeping nearby, bound with duct tape, driven to a secluded location, and buried alive. Evidence revealed that she fought violently while in the grave and was conscious for approximately five minutes after she was buried. We hope that a life sentence will provide some closure for the victim's family. I want to be clear that my office will aggressively prosecute those who commit violent crimes in Yavapai County and will continue to seek the death penalty when appropriate.”

In addition to the life sentence handed down earlier this month, David faces an additional 16-and-a-half years in prison for kidnapping, forgery and fraud.

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