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Trucker Gets Life in Prison for Mutilating Wife

November 17, 1995

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ A trucker was convicted of shooting his wife to death after their fistfight and chopping her up into 21 pieces that he painted gold, gray and blue.

After three days of testimony, the jury took two hours Thursday to find James Patrick Bradley guilty of murder and less than five minutes to sentence him to life in prison. He won’t be eligible for parole until 2025.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said jurors ``got the same impression of him that I did, that he was an evil person.″

Bradley’s wife of less than two years, Suzy Gae Hahn Bradley, 33, was shot six times on Feb. 15.

Testimony showed that after Bradley shot her with a .22-caliber rifle, he hacked up the body with an ax and scattered the painted parts around El Paso and southern New Mexico over the next four days.

Bradley spray-painted the parts to make them more difficult to identify, police said.

Bradley, 48, testified Thursday that he opened fire because his wife threatened him with a shotgun after their fight.

Defense attorney Gary Hill said he anticipated the verdict after Bradley insisted he wanted to testify. Bradley often contradicted himself and a confession he gave police.

The victim was identified only after a photo of her head, its eyes wide open, was shown on television.

Update hourly