PONTIAC, Mich. -- A lawyer convicted of killing his pregnant wife, purportedly to further his affair with a judge, was sentenced to life in prison Friday.
Michael Fletcher, 30, showed no emotion but his parents sobbed when the judge handed down the sentence, the maximum allowable under the law.
The lawyer was found guilty last month of second-degree murder for the Aug. 16 shooting death of Leann Fletcher at their Hazel Park home. Jurors rejected a first-degree murder charge.
Prosecutors said Fletcher staged the shooting to look like a suicide or accident; his lawyer and family maintain his innocence.
"In all of these years, I don't think I've ever seen a crime that was so incredibly cold-blooded," Oakland County Circuit Judge Jessica Cooper said, noting that the couple's 3-year-old daughter would have to live the rest of her life without her mother.
Leann Fletcher's family and friends cheered and cried on hearing the sentence, which makes Michael Fletcher eligible for parole in 17 years.
"I feel wonderful. I feel wonderful about the comments from the judge. He didn't get away with it. This was justice for Leann," said her mother, Gloria Misener.
Fletcher's parents continued to back their son.
"He's been pro-life all his life. He absolutely loved his child. There is no reason. He could never do it," Darla Fletcher said.
Prosecutors said Fletcher lulled a trusting wife into a sense of security by plying her with love notes and extra attention, all the while planning to kill her so he could be free to continue his relationship with Warren District Judge Susan Chrzanowski.
Chrzanowski testified during the trial that she and Fletcher had broken off their affair in spring 1999 but got back together that summer.
Prosecutors don't think Chrzanowski is connected to the slaying, but she is under state scrutiny over her assigning thousands of dollars in indigent cases to Fletcher.
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