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Man gets 6 to 12 years in girlfriend's shooting

| Friday, Sept. 24, 2004

An elderly Wilkins man who shot his girlfriend and stuffed her into a freezer will most likely die in prison, an Allegheny County judge told the convicted man Thursday.

Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman sentenced Martin Matgouranis, 69, to six to 12 years for the November 2000 attack on Cheryl Bracken, a barmaid who worked at his Swissvale tavern, Marty's Place.

Bracken, 41, who still has the bullet lodged in her skull, said after the hearing she was pleased she won't have to see Matgouranis again.

"I'm happy it's over with," she said.

A jury convicted Matgouranis in July on charges of attempted homicide and aggravated assault. He beat Bracken and shot her in the neck during an argument, and then, assuming she was dead, locked her body in a freezer at the bar. An employee found her and rescued her.

Cashman called the case "one of the most bizarre crimes I've encountered."

Matgouranis' grown children and two of his friends asked Cashman to be lenient because Matgouranis suffers from heart problems. Matgouranis faced a maximum penalty of 22 1/2 to 45 years in prison, Cashman said.

Defense attorney Patrick J. Thomassey, who told the judge he had known Matgouranis for 25 years, called the sentence fair. Matgouranis covered his face and did not comment as sheriff's deputies led him away in handcuffs.

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