Man gets life for killing wife aboard cruise ship - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man gets life for killing wife aboard cruise ship

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SAN DIEGO (AP) - A federal judge Thursday sentenced a 57-year-old Los Angeles man to life in prison for beating and strangling his wife aboard a cruise ship.

Robert McGill apologized for his actions during the hearing in San Diego but did not explain why he killed his wife and high school sweetheart, Shirley, during a five-day Mexican cruise to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate his 55th birthday.

"I don't really have the words to make anyone feel any better," said McGill, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. "I know I have done a horrible thing."

His defense attorney Todd Burns asked the judge to give him 11 years and three months.

He argued that McGill, who taught troubled youth, was a good man who made a horrible mistake after getting drunk. McGill told FBI investigators after the July 14, 2009, killing aboard the Carnival Elation ship that he had hallucinated after drinking a half bottle of Mezcal and seven or eight beers. McGill ! had said he believed a scorpion that was in the Mezcal bottle had set him off.

U.S. Chief District Judge Irma Gonzalez did not buy that, noting McGill cleaned himself up after beating his wife in the cabin's bathroom and then went to the upper deck to smoke a cigar.

"Whatever good he has done in the past, whatever decency he had in the past, he left on the bathroom floor on July 14," Gonzalez said during the hearing where Shirley McGill's parents and children sobbed.

The two had been married five years. They wed after reuniting shortly before their 30th high school reunion.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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