Bend man sentenced to life for murder of wife

BEND — An 86-year-old Central Oregon man convicted of killing his wife of 39 years has been sentenced to life in prison.

Lawrence Loeffler was wheeled into the Bend courtroom Wednesday, where he's been using a breathing device, and Judge A. Michael Adler handed down the sentence.

"Due to health, I don't know how long you will live," Adler told Loeffler. "But, I do know you will spend the rest of your life in prison."

A jury deliberated an hour Tuesday before finding Loeffler guilty of murder in the killing of Betty Loeffler, 83, the Bend Bulletin reported.

Loeffler's lawyers said he was acting under extreme emotional distress as a result of medical problems.

Defense attorney Matthew Matrisciano said his client was overreacting to simple problems, such as his wife picking up the wrong prescription and screwing the lid on the ketchup bottle too tight.

"Everything about how this happened is not normal — it's unusual," Matrisciano said in closing arguments. "It's because he was mentally disturbed. The reality is, nobody knows what happened that morning. Not even Mr. Loeffler."

In testimony, a Bend neurologist, Dr. Michael Bell, called Loeffler mentally stable, saying, "With extreme emotional distress, you're barely able to feed yourself."

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