By William Sokolic
MAYS LANDING, N.J. (Reuters) - A judge compared a New Jersey grandmother to gangster Al Capone on Wednesday and sentenced her to 55 years in prison for stabbing and dismembering her husband and then keeping his remains for years.
Convicted murderer Loretta Doyle Burroughs, 63, who prosecutors said carried "two Tupperware containers" of her butchered husband's remains through two home moves before being caught, will essentially serve the life sentence requested by the prosecution.
Before sentencing her in New Jersey Superior Court, Judge Michael Donio admonished Burroughs for her callousness, noting she left on a family vacation the day after the 2007 murder.
"There's been nothing as brutal since Al Capone ordered the St. Valentine's Day Massacre," said the judge, referring to the bloody 1929 gangster killings that allowed Capone to take control of organized crime in Chicago.
Burroughs killed Danny Burroughs, her 66-year-old husband, in their Hamilton Township home but told others he vanished after leaving for another woman, prosecutors said.
She was arrested in 2013 after police investigating his disappearance found containers of his remains in her newest home in Ventnor, prosecutors said. They were wrapped in layers of trash bags and air fresheners, prosecutors said.
A tearful Burroughs, who wore an orange prison jumpsuit and had her wrists handcuffed in front of her, told the judge that while the killing was not planned, she accepts responsibility.
"I pray that my sentence will give some type of peace. I pray that everyone will try to heal,” said Burroughs, a stocky woman with short gray hair.
Her lawyer, Anthony Previti, urged the judge to impose the minimum sentence of 30 years behind bars, saying she was remorseful.
Friends and family members spoke through tears at the sentencing, urging the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
“My brother was left to rot, mutilated, decomposing, while the murderer was enjoying life with his disemboweled body in the next room. I cannot shut that memory off,” said the victim's brother, Ray Wantorcik.
Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Bond said Burroughs should spend the rest of her life in prison because of the heartache and anguish her actions caused to the victim's loved ones.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)