JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A former Arizona lawmaker convicted in the shooting death of a man at a remote cabin site in Alaska in 2016 was sentenced Monday to 65 years in prison, with 20 years suspended.
Mark Desimone showed little expression as he was sentenced. A jury last year convicted him of first-degree murder in the death of Duilio Antonio "Tony" Rosales during a hunting and fishing trip.
Rosales' widow, Maria Gonzalez, tearfully pleaded with Desimone for answers Monday. "Please, I'm begging you, just tell me why you did it," she said.
During a statement, Desimone said something being an accident does not preclude fault. He apologized and said he took responsibility.
At trial, Desimone’s attorney, Deborah Macaulay, did not dispute Desimone fatally shot Rosales, but suggested it was an accident and called the lack of a motive a hole in the prosecution’s case.
Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said even if one accepts the defense’s theory, it leaves the question of why the gun was pointed at the back of Rosales’ head at close range, “when it went off accidentally, twice.” He called it a mystery.
"I think the most likely sequence of events is some kind of a bizarre, impulsive act, motivated by who-knows-what," Pallenberg said later.
There was no indication of a longstanding grievance "that would have caused Mr. Desimone to plot Mr. Rosales' death," he said.
The case calls for a sentence that is not at the bottom of the sentencing range and not at the top, he said. The state had asked for a sentence of 75 years, prosecutor Amy Paige said.
Pallenberg called Rosales' death an incalculable loss to his family and others who knew him, saying Rosales touched many people during his life.
Pallenberg said he got letters from people who had good things to say about Desimone, who he said ran a business and was involved in public life but also faced struggles.
Desimone resigned from the Arizona House in 2008, during his first term, after being arrested in a domestic dispute with his then-wife. That case later was dropped.