Wis. man avoids more prison time in woman's death
- Associated Press
- October 21, 2013 - 7:45 PM
WAUSAU, Wis. — A 32-year-old Marshfield man won't go back to prison for killing his girlfriend after pleading no contest Monday under a new plea deal.
Eric Mayer was found guilty of felony murder for a second time. The plea agreement averted a second trial for Mayer that was scheduled to begin Monday.
Mayer already served 585 days behind bars for the March 2009 death of 43-year-old Cynthia Tyler. He was sentenced Monday to time served.
Mayer admitted he slapped Tyler after an argument in the couple's Stratford home. Tyler died the next day of a ruptured artery in her brain.
Mayer initially was sentenced to 10 years in prison but won a bid for a new trial after he argued he did not understand what prosecutors would have had to prove to convict him at trial. He was freed in October 2011 after posting a $50,000 cash bond.
The plea deal was arranged after prosecutors discovered that part of Tyler's body preserved for future testing was lost during an autopsy, Daily Herald Media reported.
When prosecutors learned that a defense attorney for Mayer intended to offer an alternate theory of the cause of Tyler's death at trial, that piece of evidence became crucial, Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Lance Leonhard said.
"That portion of cervical spine ... is virtually essential to the prosecution of the case, so that's the reason underlying our agreement today," Leonhard said.
Mayer also was sentenced to six years and five months on extended supervision, WSAW-TV reported.
A felony murder charge is filed when a person commits a serious crime, such as battery, kidnapping or arson, and a victim dies as a result. A prosecutor does not have to prove the defendant meant to cause the death.
Mayer wiped away tears as he listened to three of Tyler's four adult children talk about the impact of their mother's death.
Douglas Tyler, who was 22 at the time his mother was killed, told Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Mike Moran he had a tough time understanding why justice had taken so long.
"Eric beat my mother and she died," Douglas Tyler said. "That's it. That's the end. The rest of this is just red tape. I plead with you to see that this all really is very simple."
But for Daniel Tyler, who is now a pastor living in Conway, Ark., the pain of losing his mother is confused by a willingness to forgive a man whom Daniel Tyler believes did not intend to kill the woman he loved.
"I have conflicted feelings," Daniel Tyler said. "But I forgive you, man. That hasn't changed."
Moran called Tyler's death a "senseless tragedy" caused by domestic abuse.
"I find it hard to understand where two people who care about one another have to resort to violence," the judge said.
Mayer could return to prison if he violates the terms of his parole.
© 2013 Star Tribune