Man who killed wife sentenced to 26 years in prison

TACOMA, Wash. -- A man who called KOMO News to confess to killing his wife was sentenced Friday to 26 years in prison.

In court, Tony Barrett apologized to his family for strangling his wife, Sara, last March.

Sara was found strangled eight months ago in a Tacoma motel room. She had recently filed for divorce following a long, abusive marriage, but for some reason she agreed to get together with her husband the night of the murder.

In court, Barrett read from a written statement, saying, "First, to my sons, I want to say that I love you guys."

It was the first time Barrett has spoken about the murder since that fateful day back on March 13. He now admits he brought Sara to the motel room, where he said they got into an argument and he strangled her.

He then called KOMO to confess to the killing.

"This whole episode came about, he ends up calling KOMO News television," said defense attorney Dino Sepe.

Barrett told a KOMO employee what he'd done and asked that KOMO to put the information on its Facebook page and and in a news program. Instead, the employee alerted police. Barrett was later captured and placed on suicide watch in the jail.

"The night in question was never supposed to happen. I was not myself. I just snapped and became somebody else," Barrett said in court.

The two had been married 28 years. But Sara confided to friends that Tony was abusive and even attempted to strangled her in front of their sons.

Now he's taking responsibility for her death by pleading guilty to her murder.

"There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't think about that day," Barrett said.

His sons didn't speak on Friday, and Barrett never looked at his family in court. He read, "I love my kids and my wife with all my heart. I am more than sorry for that day in my life when my wife passed away."

That brought an admonishment from Pierce County superior court judge Katherine Stolz.

"Your wife didn't just pass away, you killed her," Stolz said. "You made a deliberate plan to kill your wife."

The judge sentenced Barrett to more than 26 years in prison.