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Ariz. Woman Gets Death in Husband’s Murder

December 23, 2004 GMT

MESA, Ariz. (AP) _ A woman convicted of poisoning and stabbing her terminally ill husband was sentenced to death Wednesday. She will be one of only two women on Arizona’s death row.

The jury had been deliberating since Dec. 1 on the penalty for Wendi Andriano.

Andriano, convicted Nov. 18 of the first-degree murder of her husband, Joe Andriano, cried as the sentence was read.

``I don’t think I’ll ever get over this,″ the victim’s mother, Jeanette Andriano, said outside the courtroom.

During the trial, prosecutor Juan Martinez characterized Andriano as a greedy, cheating wife who killed her cancer-stricken husband in a ``shockingly evil″ way.

Martinez alleged Wendi Andriano tried to pass off her 33-year-old husband’s Oct. 8, 2000, death as a heart attack to get money from a malpractice lawsuit.

Joe Andriano, who was fighting a rare form of cancer, was struck in the head at least 23 times and stabbed in the neck. Investigators also found pesticide in his stomach.

Wendi Andriano, who testified for nine days in her own defense, claimed she had been battered by her husband. She said he flew into a rage when she told him she had an affair and the two got into a struggle with a knife.

The state’s other female death row inmate is Debra Milke, who plotted the murder of her 4-year-old son in 1989.

Only 10 women have been executed nationwide since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.