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Wife Gets Life for Slaying of Sailor Husband

March 23, 1992

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ The wife of a sailor who was murdered a week after returning from the Persian Gulf War was sentenced to life in prison today.

″You stood by while your husband and the father of your child was murdered in the most brutal fashion and never rendered one ounce of aid,″ Circuit Judge Thomas Shadrick told Valerie Swanson.

Mrs. Swanson, 33, was convicted in January of murder and conspiracy in the April 1991 death of her husband, Richard. Under the life sentence, she would be eligible for parole in about 25 years.

Defense attorney David Moyer said Mrs. Swanson suffered from battered woman syndrome and was a victim of abuse by her lover, Alan Marcotte. Marcotte, 25, pleaded guilty in December to Swanson’s murder and also is serving a life sentence.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Lindemann said Mrs. Swanson had ample opportunity to call authorities if she had been abused by Marcotte, but did not do so.

Swanson, 35, was stabbed 65 times in the bedroom of his home a week after he returned from Operation Desert Storm.

Testimony at Mrs. Swanson’s trial indicated that she hid in the bathroom while Marcotte stabbed Swanson and later went to a grocery store to establish an alibi.

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