PITTSBURGH (AP) _ She stared him down from 25 feet, tearfully recounting how he beat her so badly with a wooden baseball bat that she can no longer smell or taste or even pick up their three children.

And then Cheryl Curtician, a battered wife who says her estranged husband liked to be called ``Killer,'' got a small measure of revenge Tuesday.

A judge sentenced Steven Curtician to 31 to 69 years in prison _ the maximum allowed by law. About 15 of Mrs. Curtician's relatives and friends, all wearing purple ribbons to represent the bruises of battered women, cheered the sentence.

``I've got 32 years to raise my kids without having to look over my shoulder,'' she said.

Curtician admitted breaking into his wife's apartment during their separation last year following an 11-hour drinking binge. He said he wanted to persuade her that their marriage was worth saving.

The next thing he remembered, he was standing over Mrs. Curtician, her face and bedsheets bloodied. He said he attempted to comfort her by giving her Tylenol.

``My rings were smashed into my fingers,'' Mrs. Curtician testified. ``I could not get them off.''

She said she still sees the bat, which splintered from the force of the blows, in her dreams. Her skin swelled over her eyes and she temporarily was unable to hear or feel. Even now, she cannot smell or taste because of brain damage. Doctors treated her arm wounds with four metal plates and 23 screws.

Mrs. Curtician praised the judge for the long sentence, saying she still fears her husband because his letters from jail include photocopied Bible verses where he has underlined references to broken bones and death.

As for Curtician, his expression of remorse could not save him from the severe sentence.

``It's a pretty empty feeling to know that you could hurt someone you had loved so much at one time,'' Curtician said. ``It's still like a bad dream.''