Baldwinsville man sentenced for killing his wife, previously convicted of murdering a priest

Robert Burger

A Baldwinsville man was sentenced to 20 years to life on Tuesday for killing his wife back in December 2011. 68-year-old Robert Burger pleaded guilty last month in Onondaga County Court to murdering his wife, 56-year-old Rebecca Dethlefs.

Before sentencing, Judge Joseph Fahey asked Burger if he had any statement he would like to make. Burger offered no explanation for the murder but replied, "she was a very good wife. A very good person. I'm sorry this happened. May she rest in peace."

Rebecca Dethlefs was found dead at the Village Green Apartment building in Van Buren in late December 2011 when workers were investigating a bad smell. Autopsy results show she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Burger previously served 28 years in prison for stabbing a priest to death in New York City back in 1963. Tuesday's sentence will be served consecutive to the previous sentence since he still had time left on his parole.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Doran said that Burger will not even be eligible for parole until he is 88.