A Pottstown man was convicted of strangling his wife during last year’s COVID lockdown
Michael Hatfield, 70, admitted strangling his wife with an extension cord during an argument.
A Pottstown man was convicted of first-degree murder on Tuesday for strangling his wife with an extension cord in their home last year shortly after the lockdowns caused by COVID-19 began.
Michael Hatfield, 70, was sentenced to life in prison by Montgomery County Court Judge William Carpenter immediately after the jury read its verdict.
Hatfield’s attorney, Carrie Allman, declined to comment on the outcome of the two-day murder trial in Norristown.
Hatfield called Pottstown Police in April 2020, telling them he had “hurt” his wife, Mary, 71, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. When officers arrived at the home, they found her dead.
In an interview with detectives, Hatfield admitted to strangling her during an argument two days earlier.
Hatfield told investigators, he took an orange extension cord from a closet and walked behind his wife as she sat in her recliner, wrapped the cord around her neck, and killed her, the affidavit said.
In court, prosecutors said the dispute stemmed from a disagreement over Mary Hatfield’s medicine, and that her husband’s anger turned to violence after she called him a derogatory name. Relatives testified that the couple, married nearly 40 years, often argued, but said Michael Hatfield had never been abusive before.
Allman conceded that Hatfield had killed his wife, but asked jurors to find him guilty of the lesser charge of third-degree murder, saying the crime was not premeditated and that he had acted on impulse at the height of the emotionally charged argument.
After two hours of deliberation Tuesday, jurors convicted Hatfield of first-degree murder.