Sean A. Jennings, 38, will spend 12 years in prison for the attempted hanging of his wife in October 2007, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.
By Meghann M. Cuniff
SPOKANE — It wasn't actually a haunted house. Her husband just told her that to get her to the garage.
Now, nearly a year later, Sean A. Jennings, 38, will spend 12 years in prison for the attempted hanging of his wife in October 2007, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.
Along with probation and fines, Jennings can have no contact with his ex-wife, who called police from a Wal-Mart two days after her husband lured her into a noose in the garage by telling her he'd set up a haunted house for Halloween.
Jennings pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, according to Spokane Superior Court documents. He originally faced a first-degree attempted murder charge.
"He just felt horrible about the whole thing," said his public defender, Anna Nordtvedt. "He thought that the offer and the amended charge reflected what happened."
Nordtvedt said Jennings apologized to a judge and has shown only remorse during the time she's spent with him. Neither side would have benefited from a jury trial, she said.
"There were a lot of issues happening with both of them," she said. "It's just a really bad situation, but I think that there were some contributing factors."
Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindsey did not return a phone message left late Tuesday afternoon.
The woman said she was working on a computer at the couple's home on North Audubon Street on Oct. 7 when Jennings called her to the garage to see a haunted house. Saying he wanted to surprise her, Jennings blindfolded his wife, then handcuffed her and slipped a noose around her neck after she stepped up on a ladder, according to a Spokane police report.
The two struggled, and Jennings released his wife of a year and a half just as she lost consciousness, according to the report. The woman told police Jennings had told her hanging her was "better than getting a divorce," according to the report.
After his wife regained consciousness, Jennings told her to put aloe vera on the rope burn and then hide it with a neck brace, according to police.
The couple's divorce was finalized a month later, according to newspaper records.
"I think even (she) was just astounded," Nordtvedt said. "Both Sean and I hope that she can get on with things."
Jennings' two children who lived with the couple are being cared for by his parents, Nordtvedt said.