Twenty years to Life. That was the sentence imposed on a Syracuse-area Doctor convicted of killing his wife. Our Iris St. Meran tells us what Robert Neulander had to say for himself in court.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Robert Neulander spoke before the court for the first time, Thursday. "I love my wife Leslie and I now and forever continue to mourn her every day," said Neulander.
He went on to say he was tried and wrongfully convicted. Back in April a Jury found him guilty of second degree murder and tampering with evidence. Leslie Neulander's death was initially ruled an accident cause by a fall in the shower in 2012. The case was reopened with Neulander accused of killing her and trying to cover it up.
"Although she couldn't speak, Leslie told us what happened to her. She told us with her blood and she told us with her wounds," said William Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County District Attorney.
Both Leslie and Robert Neulander's family have maintained their support of the prominent obstetrician. His children brought and held up family photos. Leslie's sister was even allowed to make a statement before the judge appealing for the minimum sentence.
"Can you imagine the terrible burden of our family knowing an innocent man is going to prison, perhaps to die behind those walls in the name of avenging my sister's death. That pain for us is a sentence as well," said Joanne London, Leslie Neulander's sister.
His defense attorney wanted the judge to consider his background, career and philanthropic work.
"He is a person who has been a good citizen for 30 years in this community," said Gerald Shargel, Neulander's Defense Attorney.
Judge Thomas Miller said he read the support letters Neulander's loved ones submitted and acknowledge the anguish the family is going through but could not ignore the jury's verdict. He rendered a sentence of 20 years to life for his wife's murder.
"All of this, all of this, the overwhelming grief, the tragic unimaginable loss; the utter devastation that we all sense. All of it, all of it begins and ends with you, with you Dr. Neulander," said Miller.
Doctor Neulander's Defense wasted no time filing an appeal. The notice was filed Thursday afternoon in the clerk's office.