John Sandoval, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge second-degree murder of his estranged wife on Friday, more than twenty years after her death. As reported by 9 News, as part of a plea deal Sandoval led authorities to his wife’s remains, buried underneath a World War II veteran in Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Greeley, where he was working the year his estranged wife disappeared. He has now been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for the killing of Kristina Tournai-Sandoval back in 1995.

Sandoval finds an open gravesite and buries his wife

According to Sandoval, he discovered an open gravesite in the Greeley cemetery on October 20, 1995, which was ready for a funeral that afternoon.

Prosecutors state he then dug around two feet below the bottom of that gravesite, burying his wife’s body, wrapped in industrial-grade plastic. When cemetery workers buried the World War II veteran, they unknowingly placed his body over the remains of Kristina.

Colorado man arrested but later released

The New Jersey Herald reports that investigators looking for Sandoval’s missing wife that same day found a muddy and wet shovel in his car, along with muddy clothing inside his home. The husband was arrested and later investigators saw scratch marks on his chest, neck, and face. However, they could not file any charges against him at that time as they had no body, no witnesses, and no crime scene.

According to court records, Sandoval had met up with his wife to pay a debt before they finalized their divorce. Tournai-Sandoval told family members at that time that should anything happen to her, her estranged husband was responsible.

Sandoval initially convicted of first-degree murder

Reportedly Sandoval was convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 and sentenced to life, but an appeals court overturned the conviction last year, saying a judge had wrongfully allowed evidence into the case that Sandoval had stalked other women.

Prosecutors were apparently preparing for a new trial when Sandoval made the plea bargain and agreed to show the location of his wife’s body.

While he was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison, he will now get credit for time served and will reportedly be eligible for release in 2028.

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