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Spring Hill Woman Sentenced to Life in Prison for Husband's Murder

Karen Biraghi shot and killed her husband Alan Biraghi as he lay asleep on the couch in their home on Christmas Eve 2011. Hernando Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. recently sentenced Biraghi to life in prison for the murder.

Originally charged with first-degree murder, Biraghi pleaded guilty earlier this year to a reduced charge of murder in the second degree. The reduction in charge was likely the result of plea negotiations between Biraghi's defense attorneys and prosecutors. Sentencing guidelines called for a minimum prison term of 25 years and a maximum of life. If she had been convicted of first-degree murder, her sentence would have been life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prior to the sentencing, Biraghi spoke by telephone to her former mother-in-law and apologized. Her defense attorney then asked the court to impose the minimum sentence, to allow her to seek help for her psychological issues.

Valerie McClain, a licensed clinical psychologist, testified at the sentencing hearing that Biraghi suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and bulimia. McClain also told the court Biraghi has the coping skills of an adolescent due to physical and sexual abuse suffered as a child at the hands of neighbors, cousins and, later, by her first husband. She also abused alcohol and pain pills.

According to court records and testimony, the Biraghis had marital problems. Karen Biraghi engaged in extramarital affairs, as did Alan Biraghi.

Alan Biraghi told his wife on December 20, 2011 that he was having a relationship with a female co-worker and that he intended to move in with her after Christmas. The next morning, Karen Biraghi went to a pawnshop and placed a down payment on a .38-caliber revolver. She told investigators later that she bought the gun because her husband was mentally and verbally abusive and that he scared her.

Biraghi told the court she intended to commit suicide with the gun. Early on Christmas Eve, after having picked up the gun at the pawnshop, she discovered romantic text messages on her husband's phone. She loaded the gun and then, according to her, considered what to do for about an hour.

Biraghi ultimately shot her husband in the back of the head as he was sleeping on the couch. Then she went to her parents' house and told them what she had done. They all returned too the Biraghi home and called 911.

Biraghi told the 911 dispatcher that she shot her husband "[b]ecause I have been suffering years of mental and verbal abuse, and I just felt like I've reached the end."

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