SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Miramar-based Marine who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for strangling his 19-year-old bride of two months in their Mira Mesa apartment was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison during an emotional hearing.
Lance Cpl. Patrick Thomas Poteat, a 22-year-old electronics technician, killed Kalyn O'Barr-Poteat on Jan. 5 and then tried to slit his wrists but was unsuccessful. After penning a confession note that he left on the refrigerator, he fled to Joshua Tree, where he was arrested.
"You left a very, very big hole in my heart that will never, ever heal," said the victim's tearful mother, Kelly O'Barr.
Helena Peppers, Kalyn's best friend, said, "Every second I see her beautiful face and you killing her. You took her life with your hands. What could she have done that was so bad?"
Poteat listened with his head bowed but did not say anything during the hearing before Judge Charles Gill.
Defense lawyer Michael Ruiz said his client was remorseful.
San Diego police Detective Mike Holden testified during an earlier hearing that Poteat told investigators he used an electrical cord to strangle his wife while she was in bed, and that she woke up and said, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe," but he continued the attack.
"He said he never should have done that," Holden testified. "He didn't know why he did it. Then he said he murdered her."
Poteat also said that while he was in Georgia for Christmas, his wife sent him text messages saying she was going to leave him, according to Holden, who also testified that the defendant didn't like that his spouse made a living as a stripper.
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