NH man gets 15 to 30 years for killing wife

Friday, December 02, 2011
Action News

A New Hampshire man has been sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison for beating his wife to death with a flashlight when he arrived home to find she had strangled their son and tried to kill their daughter.

Thirty-eight-year-old Christopher Smeltzer admits he killed his wife, Mara Pappalardo, at their Auburn home last November.

He said he "lost his marbles" when he saw 4-year-old Mason dead with a ribbon around his neck and 7-year-old daughter Mercey's body dangling off a bed. Mercey survived.

Smeltzer was first charged with second-degree murder for the November 2010 killing. Prosecutors later downgraded that to manslaughter.

Pappalardo had been hospitalized previously for mental illness. Prosecutors say she was obsessed with death.

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