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Convicted wife killler files another appeal

| Saturday, May 5, 2012, 12:12 a.m.

A former West Newton man convicted of fatally shooting his wife and turning the gun on himself in a failed suicide attempt is contesting a judge's decision to throw out a request for a new trial.

Anton Tornowske, 57, who's being held at the state prison in Wayne County, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter on Feb. 14, 2001. Police charged him with killing Karen Tornowske, 47, on Dec. 5, 1999. The couple had been married for nearly 24 years.

Tornowske, a former mining engineer with the state Department of Environmental Protection, had been telling friends about his impending marital separation hours before the shooting, according to trial testimony. Police say Tornowske fired a 16-gauge shotgun into his wife's chest before critically wounding himself with the gun.

Saying he didn't think the jury verdict laid the framework for a strong enough sentence, Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. imposed the maximum term of 10 to 20 years for voluntary manslaughter on April 24, 2001. The judge told Tornowske that he believed a first-degree murder conviction could have been reached.

Court records show Tornowske has appealed unsuccessfully to state Superior Court and state Supreme Court. In November, Tornowske appealed to McCormick under the state Post Conviction Relief Act, but the judge dismissed the petition in February.

Court documents filed on Monday state that Tornowske now is asking the state Superior Court to review McCormick's decision.

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