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Man gets 20 years to life for killing wife with ax in Hadley

Man gets 20 years to life for killing wife with ax in Hadley

Prosecutors describe murder scene at sentencing
Man gets 20 years to life for killing wife with ax in Hadley
Michael Norton enters Hadley Town Court in May.
Photographer: Daily Gazette file photo

BALLSTON SPA  — A man who killed his wife with an ax last year in Hadley was sentenced Friday to 20 years to life in state prison, according to the Saratoga County District Attorney's Office.

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Michael Norton, 58, pleaded guilty in October to one count of second-degree murder. He admitted to killing Sherry Norton at their Hadley home the night of May 2.

Prosecutors described the murder scene at Norton's sentencing Friday, the district attorney's office said.

Police arrived to find significant blood spatter. Norton used the ax to strike his wife repeatedly in the head and back, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Jennifer L. Buckley also told the court of the continuing devastating effect the crime has had on the couple's 20-year-old daughter.

Norton addressed the court himself and offered what prosecutors later described as excuses about how and why he killed his wife. At the same time, he also professed to have loved her.

Judge James A. Murphy III imposed the agreed upon 20-years-to-life sentence, calling the case a classic one of domestic violence in which the defendant offered excuses to avoid responsibility.

"The defendant tried each and every way to blame everyone but himself for killing his wife," Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said in a statement afterward. "Judge Murphy's comments that this is a 'classic case of domestic violence' is very accurate. The defendant continued to try to manipulate and control the situation, without ultimately accepting responsibility for his conduct.

"We work every day in our office to support the victims of domestic violence and to seek justice for all involved," Heggen continued. "Sadly today, the actions of the defendant brought about lifelong devastating consequences for his whole family."

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