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For week ended January 16, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Falater gets life sentence in wife's killing
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 11Jan00 D2
By Victoria Harker: Arizona Republic

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Former LDS High Councilor Scott Falater was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole yesterday for murdering his wife. Falater was convicted last June for stabbing his wife 44 times and drowning her in the family swimming pool. The case gained notoriety nationwide in the U.S. for Falater's claim that he was sleepwalking during the murder.

Falater, 44, didn't react to Judge Ronald Reinstein's sentenced, and in an interview later with the Arizona Republic, he said he will appeal the conviction. But he also recognized that even if his appeal is successful, he will spend a long time in prison. Falater said he will make the best of his time in prison, providing a good example for other prisoners, "I'll have hours with these guys," he said. "Almost like a big brother setup."

Judge Reinstein said that Falater's exemplary lifestyle and the fact that his children had forgiven him as the main reasons why Falater wasn't given the death penalty. His children specifically asked the Judge to let Falater live. But Reinstein also passed up the opportunity to sentence Falater to life in prison with parole possible after 25 years.

The Judge told Falater in court that his children's statements were among the most compelling material presented in favor of letting him live. "Megan and Michael testified about their happy family life, the love and respect their parents demonstrated for each other and the complete absence of any violence or arguments between their parents," said Reinstein, reading from his sentencing verdict.

But Maricopa County Deputy Attorney Juan Martinez said he hasn't seen any remorse from Falater for his actions. "He's never said he's sorry," he said. "Remorse requires acceptance of the fact that you did something wrong. This defendant has never accepted responsibility for brutally killing his wife. He is still hiding behind this so-called sleepwalking defense that was not proven at trial."

But Falater said in the jailhouse interview that Martinez had 'manufactured' evidence against him. And, he still expresses optimism for the future, saying that, after a good life, any further good that now comes will be "icing on the cake."


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