NJ man gets 15 years for strangling companion

September 19, 2009 1:54:28 PM PDT
A southern New Jersey man who strangled his companion after she told him she was moving away with their five children is headed to state prison. Louis Ceresa of Northfield, who attacked Amanda Carmen inside her parked minivan during a scheduled custody exchange in January, was ordered Friday to serve 15 years. He had pleaded guilty in July to aggravated manslaughter.

Prosecutors say the couple's 11-year-old son witnessed the attack, and they and the boy's relatives agreed to a plea bargain to spare him from having to testify. State Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury called the sentence "lenient," but accepted the deal.

The 33-year-old Northfield man must serve 85 percent of his term, or about 12 years, before becoming eligible for parole. He told the judge he had "no excuse" for his actions.

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