Mark Duenas sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
A Cottonwood man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Friday for the May 2012 murder of his wife Karen.
Before he was sentenced Mark Duenas chose to address the court. He was advised of the benefits and consequences of doing so by the judge and his attorney. He then began his address by thanking the marshals at the jail for their kindness and compassion and his counsel for their hard work.
"You've got to believe me, I would never hurt her. I miss her every day. I hurt for her. I hurt for my boys," said Duenas.
Duenas continued to voice his frustration over being convicted of a crime he denies he committed.
"I never thought I'd be blamed for this. Never in a million years. And this is how it turned out," said Duenas.
Karen's brother, her and Mark's son and Mark's sister also spoke at the sentencing.
Duenas told the family members in the audience, "I need to tell my family how sorry I am that I wasn't in that room to help Karen."
A Shasta County judge passed down the sentence to a silent Duenas amidst a crowded courtroom.
Duenas was found guilty in November after little more than a day of deliberations.
The first trial in the Duenas case ended in a hung jury in July. Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict. Jurors indicated they reached a stalemate, with nine in favor of acquittal, three in favor of conviction.
Duenas has maintained his claim that he is innocent even mouthing "I didn't do it," to investigators as he was led from the courtroom following the announcement of his guilty verdict.
Duenas' lawyer is filing for an appeal.
Mark and Karen Duenas had been married for almost 33 years when her body was found in their Cottonwood home. She was discovered in bed with several stab wounds.
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