Man Sentenced After Burying Wife Alive

PRESCOTT, Arizona – David Michael Pagniano, a 62-year-old Arizona resident, has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of his wife, Sandra Pagniano. The couple, who had been embroiled in a bitter divorce, tragically reached the peak of their animosity when Sandra was abducted and buried alive in May 2017.

Sandra’s death was marred by extreme violence. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office revealed that she was violently taken from her home while their children slept. Bound with packing tape, she was then driven to a secluded area where she met her horrifying fate. Evidence indicates that Sandra valiantly fought for her life, possibly remaining conscious for up to five minutes while trapped beneath the earth.

After days of uncertainty, Sandra’s lifeless body was discovered in a remote part of Prescott, Arizona. She was found gagged and bound with packing tape in a grave that her husband had dug by hand. Suspicion immediately turned towards David Pagniano, as cellphone data suggested he had been near the area both before Sandra’s disappearance and on the night of the abduction.

In a disturbing attempt to conceal his crime, David allegedly forged notes to deceive investigators. Two notes, allegedly written by Sandra herself, were discovered in the divorce proceedings files. These notes declared her intention to run away and granted Pagniano possession of their vehicles, house, and even custody of their children. However, a forensic examination later exposed the truth – David had authored these falsified documents himself.

Sandra was officially reported missing on May 21, 2017, after failing to attend a planned social event. The last confirmed sighting of her was on May 19, before her life was tragically cut short. Following David Pagniano’s arrest and subsequent murder charge, Sandra’s remains were found on May 26, 2017. Despite being taken into custody, Pagniano steadfastly maintained his innocence and claimed no knowledge of his wife’s whereabouts.

The horrific nature of the crime compelled the prosecution to seek the death penalty. However, Pagniano opted to plead guilty without a plea deal on the eve of the trial, leaving the ultimate decision to the judge. Consequently, he received a life sentence, coupled with an additional over 16-year term for charges of kidnapping, forgery, and fraud schemes.

Arizona’s legal system has swiftly brought justice to this horrific crime, ensuring that David Pagniano will spend the rest of his life paying the price for his heinous deeds.