BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - A Battle Creek man implicated in the 2015 death of his wife was sentenced Monday to at least six years and four months in prison.
Christopher Carpenter, 32, was sentenced to 76 months to 10 years after he entered a plea in June to assault with intent to murder in the beating of his wife, Joy Nunley Carpenter.
"Domestic violence is a horrific thing that is the scourge on our communities and you are the poster boy for it," Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge John Hallacy said. "People treat their dogs and cats better than that and people who do that deserve to be locked up."
Carpenter had been charged with open murder following the death of Joy Carpenter.
Battle Creek police said she had been punched on Dec. 5, 2015 between 30 and 50 times in the head and face at the couple's residence on 23rd Street. Investigators said Christopher Carpenter only agreed to drop his wife at the hospital if she would say someone else assaulted her.
After the beating family members said they didn't recognize her swollen face. She died two days after being admitted to Bronson Battle Creek.
But as prosecutors and defense attorney Donald Sappanos prepared for trial, they agreed that medical experts believed the woman died not from the injuries but from medication mistakes administered at the hospital.
Carpenter entered a no contest plea and faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison rather than a possible life sentence without parole if he had been convicted of murder.
"I don't care what the medical reports say," said Nerissa Nunley, an aunt who said she and Joy were like sisters. "She would not have needed medical treatment if he hadn't done what he did."
Nunley told Hallacy, "I will never call him by his name because that validates that he is human. But humans do not destroy loved ones. He is no more than a savage animal preying on those who have misfortune to care for him."
Joy Carpenter's mother, Janessa Nunley, called her daughter a "wonderful, loving, caring, human being.
"You took the voice of an angel. You promised to love, honor and protect her and you were the one she needed protection from."
Neither Carpenter nor his attorney, Donald Sappanos, spoke before the sentencing.
"You can see what you did had an impact beyond the victim in this case," Hallacy said. "When someone is injured or dies people are left behind. They have to deal with the consequences of your actions."
Afterwards, Nerissa Nunley said while the sentence was all the judge could give, "I wish they would put him under the jail. I hope he is victimized and brutalized in jail every single day. I hate him."
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