The former pharmaceutical executive convicted in the January 2004 killing of his wife was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison.

Jonathan Nyce, 55, had confessed to smashing Michelle Nyce's head on the concrete floor of their Hopewell Township garage after she returned from a tryst with another man, but he said it was an accident. He then put her lifeless body in her SUV and drove it into a nearby creek to make it appear she had died in a car crash.

In July, a jury convicted him of the passion-provocation manslaughter of his 34-year-old wife, which was the least severe of the charges he faced. He could have served a decade for that conviction, but Superior Court Judge Bill Mathesius sentenced him to seven years.

Nyce's sentence also includes a year for tampering with evidence for staging the auto accident. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 1 1/2 years.

The Nyces met in the early 1990s through a newspaper advertisement when then-Michelle Rivera, just out of her teens, was living in her native Philippines. After more than a year of letters, the two were married and Michelle moved to the United States.

Nyce was a research professor-turned-entrepreneur whose Cranbury-based Epigenesis Pharmaceuticals was developing a promising new asthma medicine when the 2001 recession hit. As venture capital dried up, Nyce was replaced as CEO of the company he founded. He was a stay-at-home father to the couple's three children when he killed his wife.

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini Jr. said he was disappointed Nyce would not serve more time in prison.

"I think Dr. Nyce is probably one of the luckiest individuals on the face of the Earth," Bocchino said after the sentencing.

Because he already has served about 10 months in jail, Nyce will be eligible for parole in about six years.