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Arizona Man Receives Life Sentence for Murder of Wife Buried Alive

Due to his horrific wife’s 2017 murder, 62-year-old David Pagniano of Arizona was given a life sentence without the chance of parole. While their kids were sleeping, 39-year-old Sandra Pagniano was horribly murdered and buried alive in a hand-dug grave close to their house.

Seven years later, David Pagniano chose to enter a guilty plea, skipping the trial and letting the judge decide on his own sentencing. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office announced that Pagniano faces a 16-year jail term in addition to a life sentence for offenses involving fraud, forgery, and kidnapping.

County Attorney Dennis McGrane revealed the horrific details of Sandra Pagniano’s kidnapping and murder, denouncing the seriousness of the crime. Sandra was abducted from her house, bound with packing tape, taken to a far place, and buried alive. She struggled for a maximum of five minutes after being buried.

The terrible event happened in May 2017, when Sandra and David were going through a divorce. They kept living together with their two small girls even after they separated.

Later, Sandra’s body was found inside a grave in a rural location north of Prescott, gagged and bound with packing tape. The horrific way she died was confirmed by the county medical examiner.

Devastating evidence was found during investigations against David Pagniano, including cellphone data that showed him in the vicinity of the grave both before and after the kidnapping. Furthermore, notes purportedly written by Sandra, expressing her intention to leave her husband and relinquish assets, were found to have been forged by David.

In the wake of Sandra’s body being found, David Pagniano was charged with first-degree murder. McGrane expressed optimism that the victim’s family would find some comfort in the life sentence.

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