A woman who stabbed her Navy doctor-husband three months after learning he was having an affair was sentenced Friday to 16 years to life in state prison.
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Jennifer Trayers, 43, was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the death of Dr. Frederick Trayers.
Deputy District Attorney Fiona Khalil said the 41-year-old victim was unhappy in his marriage but was committed to his wife of 18 years.
""It was very clear that his marriage to the defendant was unhappy, and he sought happiness elsewhere
she elected selfishly to end his life," the prosecutor said, noting the defendant stabbed her husband 11 times. "She had so many other choices."
Judge Joan Weber said she was hard-pressed to find a case that exemplified the "irrevocable tragedy of domestic violence."
"You made a decision that changed everything," the judge told the defendant. "You lost the man that you loved more than life itself. The community lost a man who was a decorated Navy pilot and an emergency doctor who saved lives daily."
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said he was heartbroken that because of California's inflexible laws, Trayers would serve a similar life sentence to that of a gang member who killed someone.
Armstrong said Trayers was "extremely remorseful" for killing her spouse,
"It was definitely a crime of passion," Armstrong explained. "She still loves him. I know that's strange to say because she killed him, but she still loves him very much."
Armstrong believes she may have loved him too much, and added, "We've sort of become Jennifer's friend over the last 15 months. I know that sounds strange to say that we're friends with someone who's been convicted of murder and in jail but, I mean, we really got to know her, and I know it sounds odd, but she's the sweetest person you would ever meet."
Similar sentiments were echoed in 40 pages of character letters that came into the courtroom. Even Frederick Trayers' mother asked the judge to show mercy during sentencing.
In her closing argument, Khalil said Trayers lied when she told the jury how she killed her spouse the morning of Dec. 4, 2010.
Trayers testified that she was frustrated by her husband's refusal to speak to her about his affair when she went into the bedroom with a butcher knife and asked him how to kill herself. She said she and her husband struggled over a sharper military knife that he pulled out, and she stabbed him in the back of the neck.
The defendant said her husband stood up and pulled the covers off the bed, then she blacked out and couldn't remember stabbing him 10 more times, including two lethal stab wounds to the chest.
Khalil said the evidence didn't support the defendant's story and that, in fact, she attacked her husband in bed after he had taken sleep medication.
Armstrong said his client stabbed her husband while in a "total uncontrollable rage."
Trayers found herself on an "emotional roller coaster" because her husband told her he would never leave her but at the same time was telling his younger mistress that he loved her and wanted a divorce.
The defendant installed spyware on her husband's computer and intercepted hundreds of emails between him and his girlfriend discussing how they wanted to get married and have children, Armstrong said.
Trayers sent an eight-page email to her husband's mistress the morning of the murder, telling the woman "My husband is NOT going to be yours" and "I was the last person he was with."
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