YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Army Maj. Richard K. Hart, arrested last August after throwing his wife’s naked, plastic-wrapped body over a bridge, was sentenced to 26 years Wednesday for the brief brawl that resulted in her death, plus other charges.

The military judge’s ruling came at the end of a long, emotional day that included Hart’s daughter breaking down on the stand and Hart himself being restrained by confinement personnel when he tried to approach her on the witness stand.

Hart, 45, originally was charged with murder in the death of Patricia Ann Hart, 53, described by the couple’s daughter as an always-smiling but broken woman whose emotional state crumbled as her marriage failed amid domestic violence.

But Judge Lt. Col. Edward O’Brien, after 75 minutes of deliberating, found Hart guilty of voluntary manslaughter in an Aug. 9, 2003, spat that left his wife dead on the floor of his Itaewon apartment. The law defines voluntary manslaughter as a provoked, unlawful killing committed in the heat of passion.

Hart’s 26-year sentence also covered his conviction on other charges: two aggravated assault charges for his violence toward his wife and daughter Allison, obstruction of justice for stripping his wife’s body and throwing it over the Yongjong Bridge on the way to Incheon International Airport, disobeying a direct order and adultery.

Civilian defense attorney Gary Myers — currently tapped to defend a soldier involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal — called the sentence a bit excessive. The two aggravated assaults — which occurred at Fort Lewis in 2000 and 2002 — weren’t prosecuted by the government until Hart’s trial for the death of his wife, Myers said.

“This was the most favorable result I felt was available,” Myers said, noting Hart could have faced life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. The maximum penalty for the crimes of which he was convicted would have been 31½ years, attorneys said.

In an emotionally charged moment during the sentencing phase, as Hart’s daughter read a written statement about her parents, Hart suddenly darted out of his chair and moved toward the witness stand. Allison Hart — in tears after saying she “loved her mother more than words can ever say,” was escorted from the courtroom as military police shackled Hart.

“Your honor, the only thing I was trying to do was hug my daughter,” Hart pleaded as he was restrained.

“Don’t resist in any way,” advised one of Hart’s attorneys, Capt. James Culp of Trial Defense Services. “When they are finished, I want you to go back and sit down.”

O’Brien admonished Hart not to leave his seat. Allison Hart, 20, returned to court and continued her statement, saying her father cared only about his job and that she could not believe he would put her mother in a bag and throw her to a “watery grave.”

“This is an act of a sad, demented, malicious person,” she said. “I’m embarrassed to call him my father and even more disgusted to have trusted him over the years.”

After pleading guilty to some charges Monday, Hart testified that his wife woke him the night of Aug. 9 by hitting him in the face, knocking out two fillings. Hart testified his wife was angered he was not wearing his wedding band, which he’d placed on a night stand.

She wrapped a cord around her neck and threatened to strangle herself and throw herself off the balcony, Hart said. The two struggled, Hart testified, saying he may have struck his wife. She fell to the floor, he said, and he left the apartment.

When he returned three or four hours later, Hart said, she was dead. He returned to work for five hours and spent the next two days at his girlfriend’s, while his wife’s body lay in his apartment.

Korean police arrested him early in the morning of Aug. 12 after they observed him stop his car on Yongjong Bridge and heave her body over the side. Because of the gap in time between when she died and was found, pathologists testified, they had trouble discerning her cause of death.

Navy Capt. Steven Robinson, the Pacific region medical examiner who testified Tuesday, said the woman died of blunt force trauma to her head. Robinson did the original autopsy at the Yongsan Garrison morgue.

But Joye Carter — a defense-hired pathologist — testified Wednesday the hemorrhaging in Patricia Hart’s brain wasn’t life-threatening, and neither were numerous marks on her face and body. Carter, a former Air Force officer, was most recently chief medical examiner for Harris County, Texas.

Carter testified she felt the cause of death was a heart arrhythmia, based on medical records and toxicology tests, which found Sudafed, cold medicine known to aggravate the condition.

The body also fell about 80 feet, breaking ribs and causing marks. Both pathologists said telling when her numerous bruises and contusions happened — before or after death — was difficult. Carter said only one wound appeared to have happened before death, but Robinson cited several.

Carter criticized Robinson’s examination, saying examining certain wounds under a microscope, to determine more definitely whether they occurred before or after death, would have been better. Government prosecutor Lt. Col. Craig A. Meredith asked if it was easy to Monday-morning quarterback the autopsy.

“It’s not Monday-morning quarterback,” Carter answered after a pointed exchange.

Wednesday, in his closing argument for the trial’s sentencing phase, Meredith argued that Hart should stay in prison long enough to become “a feeble man” unable to hurt other people. Allison Hart has to live without a mother, Meredith said — and Patricia Hart “didn’t deserve to die like that. Death by beating is probably one of the worst ways to go.”

Myers said earlier Wednesday he was unsure if Hart “loves anyone or is capable of love.” The officer, Myers said, has a “monumental sense of entitlement” and sought to manipulate events surrounding his wife’s death as he tried to manipulate people in his life.

But some leniency was deserved because some of Hart’s crimes — while serious — did not qualify as extremely egregious, Myers said.

Under law, Hart could get 10 days credit per month for good behavior; he already has been confined almost a year. He could be eligible for parole in about 8½ years.

Before sentencing, Hart walked to the witness stand in leg irons and made an unsworn, extemporaneous statement. He said at one time, he had a happy family.

“It is my fault that all of this happened,” Hart said. “The only thing I ask is that everything works out” for his daughter Allison. “Years ago I did care about my family. The last four years, I did not.”

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