Axe murderer sentenced in wife's death

January 12, 2018 01:13 PM

BALLSTON SPA – The blank stares on the faces of law enforcement during the early morning hours of May 3, 2017 in Hadley were replaced with looks of satisfaction as Michael Norton is sentenced.

"The violence at which the defendant inflicted on his wife here is evidenced by the physical evidence that spoke volumes to all of us," said Karen Heggen, Saratoga County District Attorney. "The tremendous blows that she suffered throughout her body, the devastation that caused her physically, that to me indicated a huge amount of anger."

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Norton, 59, claims he was too drunk and he never would have done it otherwise.

"I certainly do have remorse. I loved my wife," Norton told Saratoga County Judge Jim Murphy III. "There's a lot I don't remember. I was found unconscious at the scene when the paramedics arrived and yes, there's a lot I don't remember that happened. I'm sorry for that but that's the truth.

"I am remorseful. I loved my wife...and, and, and she was my best friend...and yea, I did it."

In her statement to the Judge, ADA Jennifer Buckley described the attack in great detail: "He shows absolutely no remorse for his actions and he shows absolutely no remorse for the impact that his crime has had on his child."

His daughter Savannah, 20, sat with a friend in court, wiping away tears but left without speaking either in or out of court.

"The tragic result is now someone is going to prison for the rest of their lives, a young 20-year old woman is forever without both of her parents in her life and that to us is why we commit ourselves to the work we do each and every day," Heggen said.

"Justice was served today," said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo. "It was horrific event up there, it affected a lot of people and we have some type of conclusion here today."

Said Judge Murphy: "I am stunned that you can stand here in this courtroom and claim that you loved your wife having pled guilty to murder in the 2nd degree and having bludgeoned her with an axe in such a violent and horrific way…So don't tell me or stand here and say to me that you loved her mother. It's an insult."

Norton is sentenced to 20-years to life in prison. His lawyer plans to appeal.


John Craig

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