Former officer sentenced in wife killing

May 1, 2009 1:32:48 PM PDT
A former Millville, New Jersey police officer will spend nine years behind bars for killing his wife. Robert Vanaman wept in court Friday morning as a Cumberland County judge handed down that sentence.

Vanaman pleaded guilty to manslaughter back in March, just as jury selection began in his first degree murder trial.

Vanaman was sentenced to a total of 9 years. He'll serve 8 years on the charges of manslaughter and an additional year for obstruction of justice.

Vanaman must serve 85% of his sentence before becoming eligable for parole.

The former South Jersey officer admitted to shooting 37-year-old Barbara Vanaman during an argument inside their home in the 2200 block of South Wedgewood Court in Millville back in November 2006.

Vanaman said he was arguing with his wife when she picked up a knife, forcing him to shoot her to death. He admitted to making self-inflicted knife wounds to say he was attacked.

Vanaman was a 15-year veteran of the police force and had just been promoted to sergeant two months before the killing. He served the police as a technology officer and supervised the dispatch and records divisions.

Authorities said the couple's two children, ages 3 and 13 at the time, were not home at the time of the shooting.

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