A woman convicted of trying to kill her estranged husband by stabbing him at the business they owned in Redwood City in 2011 was sentenced this morning to 11 years to life in prison, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Laura Wenke, 53, was convicted in June by a San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City of attempted murder, inflicting great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon and felony domestic violence, prosecutors said.
Wenke and her husband were in the middle of a bitter divorce when on Sept. 15, 2011, she showed up at the construction business they owned together dressed in a mechanic’s jumpsuit with bubblewrap wrapped around her body underneath the jumpsuit, prosecutors said. Wenke parked her truck in front of the business and looked at her husband through the window. She walked up to him as he was working at a computer and used a stun gun on him, then stabbed him in the chest and neck, prosecutors said. He was hospitalized for several days to be treated for his injuries.
Wenke was arrested at the business by police responding to the stabbing. Wenke and her husband, then 48, had an 8-year-old son together and her husband had a $2 million life insurance policy with Wenke named as the beneficiary, prosecutors said. Her husband at one point made a statement to the court saying that he was confident that the stabbing was motivated by anger and money and that Wenke fully intended to kill him, Wagstaffe said.
Wenke attempted to argue that she was mentally ill at the time of the stabbing, but the jury rejected that defense and in sentencing her, Judge Stephen Hall said they were correct to do so, Wagstaffe said. Hall sentenced Wenke to nearly the maximum allowable sentence — which would have been 13 years to life in prison. Wenke will be eligible for parole after nine years, prosecutors said.
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