Raleigh Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Wife
Posted April 14, 2007 11:55 a.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2007 8:29 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man accused of running down his wife, then killing her with his bare hands nearly two years ago pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder.
Michael Massenburg, 39, was sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said.
Massenburg went to trial last month for killing his wife, Dujuana "Toni" Stallings Massenburg, 34, in May 2005, but a jury deadlocked between convicting him of first- or second-degree murder and could not reach a unanimous verdict. The presiding judge declared a mistrial.
Cummings said Massenburg also admitted to being out on a pretrial release after having assaulted his wife in March 2005. Because of that admission, the judge sentenced him to more time in prison than he would have if a jury convicted him of second-degree murder.
Prosecutors argued that Massenburg chased Toni Massenburg's minivan on several residential streets, ran her off the road, beat and strangled her with her seatbelt. He then admitted to police that he killed his wife, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys implied that she died after her seatbelt malfunctioned.
Two months prior to her death, Toni Massenburg took out a restraining order against her husband. Because they shared custody of their three children, however, they continued to have contact.
Toni Massenburg's sister and Michael Massenburg's parents are caring for the children.