LEOMINSTER -- Mizael Rosa, who was charged with stabbing his wife to death at their Pennacook Drive home in March 2009, pleaded guilty to a reduced manslaughter charge Wednesday and was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison.
Worcester Superior Court Judge James R. Lemire discussed the plea with defense attorney Louis Aloise and Assistant District Attorney Brett Dillon in a sidebar session before accepting the plea, said District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.'s spokesman Timothy J. Connolly.
"They presented in open court an agreed plea of guilty to manslaughter," Connolly said.
Lemire gave Rosa, 48, credit for 1,112 days he spent in jail awaiting the plea hearing, Connolly said.
Including the time Rosa has already been in jail waiting for a trial, he should be eligible for parole in 13 1/2 to 14 years, Aloise said.
Rosa lived with his wife, Silvia Rosa, at 107 Pennacook Drive, where he repeatedly stabbed her March 26, 2009.
The couple have two daughters, including one who was in her early 20s and another who was in her teens when their mother was stabbed.
Police at the time said they had no record of domestic abuse with the couple.
Rosa admitted his guilt when police officers arrived and was indicted on a single murder charge.
Dillon was expected to argue that Rosa was distraught in the days before the murder over a suspected affair his wife was having and waited to attack her when she arrived home, Aloise said by telephone late Wednesday afternoon.
If the case went to trial, Aloise was ready to present a diagnosis that Rosa had a psychological breakdown that prevented him from forming a premeditated intent to commit murder.
"We had a number of witnesses ready to testify Mr. Rosa was not acting himself; not at work, not at home," Aloise said.
First-degree murder requires premeditation and second degree requires at least malice toward the victim.
"Manslaughter acknowledges either the killing occurred in the heat of passion or provocation, or the person's mental state was such they didn't have the capacity to form intent of first or second degree murder," Aloise said.
Rosa and his wife had known each other from the time they were 15 years old and been married for many years, according to Aloise.
"He begged the court's forgiveness and was extremely, profoundly sorry for what he had done," he said.
Both daughters supported their father during his legal proceedings and the older one who is now in her mid-20s attended the sentencing, Aloise said.