Markham sentenced in wife’s death

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By Carol A. Clark

SANTA FE – Making no excuses for shooting his wife, Jack Markham pled guilty and was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday afternoon in First District Court.

Markham, 56, was ordered to serve 10 years of incarceration for killing Robin Markham the evening of Aug. 4, but because of health conditions may end up in a facility other than prison – but it will be a place for people who’ve committed violent crimes, Judge Michael Vigil told him.

“This is really a tragedy,” said Vigil who called on the family to find forgiveness and peace for the sake of the Markham’s young grandchildren. “I think your remorse today is very important, one step to allow those who love Robin to go on. You didn’t try to justify your actions.”

Markham’s attorney, Damian Horn, said in all the months Markham never reviled his wife or excused the deed or explained it.

As part of his plea deal, Markham also agreed to allow his collection of rifles and handguns to be destroyed. Police discovered the firearms inside Markham’s Denver Steel home where he shot and killed his wife in their bedroom.

Markham actually received 15 years with five suspended followed by two years mandatory probation and he must pay restitution for his wife’s funeral expenses upon his release.

The victim’s daughter begged the judge to sentence Markham to life in prison.

“To him my mother was personal nurse, maid, cook and waitress; she ran herself ragged trying to make his life better and he had the nerve to take hers. He’s a coward … always threatening suicide … he deserves nothing more than to spend the rest of his life in prison,” she said.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Snell told the judge Markham had threatened suicide and his wife moved out two weeks before her murder because she and her friends felt that she was threatened by him.

Snell told Vigil the couple was talking before Markham shot his wife “three times in the heart” and then called police.

“Mr. Markham didn’t love her until she died,” Snell said, adding that she loved him and went back to the house that day to bring him his medicine, against friends’ advice and that counseling was to begin the next day.

Phillip Pearlman spoke of his sister’s death.

“Your honor, I wish you could have known my sister,” he said. “She was one of those beautiful people. She was more than just my sister she was my best friend, my confidant.”

Pearlman held up a jar containing his sister’s ashes saying she loved riding motorcycles and now sits on the dashboard of his motorcycle and rides with him everywhere he goes.

Family and several longtime friends came forward to say Markham never showed any signs of violence before the shooting. His younger sister told Vigil she hadn’t heard her brother ever yell at anyone and that she didn’t want his “55 years of life as a wonderful brother, husband and father to go unnoticed.”

The victim’s friends and relatives spoke out against Markham with the exception of her step-brother who said he, his wife and children have forgiven him for what he did.

“You certainly don’t have to like him or spend time with him … but bitterness is a very evil root that eats away at your inner being,” he told family members and friends. He also asked the judge to be merciful with Markham and not place him in a population of gang members and serial killers.

“I’m so sorry,” a tearful Markham said as he read from a prepared statement before his sentencing. “It’s hard to believe something like this could happen but it did. I can’t think of any words to describe how sorry I am. She was my wife, my best friend, my lover, partner, my better half, my fishing buddy, my traveling companion. She was my everything … everyone loved her and because of me she’s not here anymore.

“I will miss her always and forever. I just want all of you – everyone here and everyone everywhere to know from the deepest part of me – how sorry I am and always will be. You don’t have to forgive me but maybe if you wouldn’t judge me – just know from the bottom of my heart – I am really sorry.”

Markham will be sent to Los Lunas Penitentiary for 60 days of evaluation to determine where he will spend the next 10 years of his life.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.