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When someone is arrested on serious charges, possible penalties can include fines and jail time. Facing a violent crime charge means the accused needs to know the laws, rights and defense options for his or her particular situation, because a conviction can mean a lifetime behind bars.

A Dumont, New Jersey, man is now facing murder charges and a possible life sentence after being accused of murdering his wife. According to Bergen County prosecutors, the man assaulted and stabbed his wife in April 2010. Investigators say the husband told them he and his 54-year-old wife were supposed to have dinner the night she was killed, but she reportedly cancelled and went out with friends instead. When she came home late, the couple argued. The husband told police his wife threw a lamp at him before he stabbed her. The couple had been married for 35 years.

Attorneys for the husband, now 60 years old, say the man was frustrated because his wife was distancing herself and the marriage appeared to be failing. Defense attorneys argue their client is not guilty of murder because it was a crime of passion. The defense lawyers want the charges changed to manslaughter, which could mean a significantly shorter prison sentence if the man is convicted.

While it's good that the man has admitted that what he did was wrong and is ready to accept some sort of punishment, it's important to remember how the law defines murder and manslaughter. Sometimes people snap and are not in the right frame of mind. That could have been what happened in this case.

Source: Northjersey.com, "Detective details Dumont man's account of slaying his wife," Kibret Markos, Dec. 19, 2012

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