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April 16, 2013

UPDATE: Benzie man sentenced to life for wife's death

BEULAH — Deshawn Stanton apologized for shooting and killing his wife and said he planned to "get right with God."

A judge on Tuesday sentenced Stanton, 27, to life in prison for the murder of his wife, Stephanie Stanton, 28. He asked her family for forgiveness before Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer explained his fate.

Stanton immediately swapped his remorseful words for expletives. He interrupted Batzer with profanities directed at him and his victim's family members.

"I ain't done. I ain't through," Stanton said.

Batzer told Stanton he can be considered for parole in 15 years.

"So it doesn't do you much good, Mr. Stanton, to make your vile comments about the judge or the court because you aren't hurting me," Batzer said.

Family and friends of both Stanton and Stephanie packed the courtroom to hear the outcome of an emotional case that began almost a year ago. Authorities said Stanton shot Stephanie, 28, during a heated argument May 6 at a home on Cinder Road in Benzie's Homestead Township.

Stanton pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. His attorney, Jane Johnson, said he pointed a shotgun at Stephanie but did not intend to pull the trigger.

"I have come to believe and understand that Mr. Stanton in his own way truly did love and care for Stephanie, but his love for Stephanie was dramatically overshadowed by his love for drugs and for money," she said.

Tension between the families escalated as Stephanie's relatives read letters in court on Tuesday. An argument broke out in the parking lot after sentencing.

Stephanie's mother, Sherri Gatrell, shook as she hurriedly spoke in court. She told Stanton he controlled her daughter and didn't love her.

"You deliberately didn't want her but you didn't want anyone else having her, and that's why you did it. My three grandkids got to grow up with no mother thanks to you," she said.

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