FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fort Wainwright soldier who served in the Army as a mental health technician has been convicted in a military trial of murdering his wife.
Spc. Aaron M. Rentfrow, 30, was found guilty Wednesday by a court-martial panel, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/qjwvlT) reported Thursday. He had already pleaded guilty to strangling Tonya Lynn Rentfrow and had been in custody at Fairbanks Correctional Center since the night of his wife’s death.
Tonya Rentfrow, who was from Conway, was found strangled to death with a computer cord on Jan. 10. In the trial, prosecutors argued that the murder must have been premeditated because Aaron Rentfrow bound his wife to a chair with duct tape before strangling her in the living room.
Defense attorneys argued the victim must have consented to being tied up because there was not much evidence of other injuries to either party or signs of a struggle.
A medical examiner’s written testimony said it takes between two and five minutes of pressure to kill someone with a cord by ligature strangulation. Prosecutors argued that was enough time for Rentfrow to have reconsidered his actions.
Defense attorneys called a series of witnesses who testified that Rentfrow was a henpecked husband who was moved to kill his wife when he suddenly acted on rage that had been building for months.
Several witnesses testified they saw Tonya Rentfrow treat her husband cruelly. All the defense witnesses described Rentfrow as a passive, submissive man who usually tried to avoid conflicts.
Rentfrow came to Fort Wainwright in May 2010. He has served in the Army for seven years over two deployments.
Rentfrow could be sentenced to life in prison. He is entitled to an automatic appeal.