Life Term for NJ Man Who Killed Schoolteacher Wife

Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013  |  Updated 4:58 PM EDT
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Life Term for NJ Man Who Killed Schoolteacher Wife

Debbie Shanley

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A man who fatally beat and stabbed his schoolteacher wife inside their northern New Jersey home has been sentenced to life in prison.

A Bergen County jury had convicted Peter Shanley of murder charges in January.

Defense lawyers had sought a lesser sentence, arguing that the 60-year-old Dumont resident was overwhelmed by passion provocation when he attacked Debra Shanley in April 2010. They claimed that in the months before the attack, his wife had unexpectedly joined a motorcycle club and began drifting away from him.

The couple had been married for 35 years and had two adult children. Debra Shanley taught business for two years in Bergenfield and previously at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest. Peter Shanley was a borough public works employee. 

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