|Zdenka Praljak. (File Photo)
TORONTO - A west Toronto renovator has been sentenced to life in prison for the savage slaying of his wife, who decided to leave him after learning he was involved in an affair.
After one day of deliberations, a jury acquitted Mladen Praljak, 56, of first-degree murder but convicted him of the lesser charge of second-degree murder in the Dec. 6, 2008, death of Zdenka Praljak, his wife of 30 years.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence. Justice Michael Dambrot will determine on Nov. 30 how long Praljak must stay behind bars -- 10 years to 25 years -- before being eligible for parole.
Crown attorneys Michally Iny and Cheryl Blondell had argued that Praljak killed his wife at their Strathnairn Ave. triplex two days after his lover ended their extra-marital affair and while his wife sought a separation.
"No verdict can ever bring this loving mother of two and grandmother of five back to life," Det. Sgt. Mary Vruna said.
"The family has mixed emotions. They've lost their mother at the age of 53 and her mom has lost her only child. They are devastated."
Praljak, believing that he had lost everything, chose to kill his wife by repeatedly stabbing her, court heard.
Praljak began an affair with Karin Goegginger in the spring 2007, a year after she hired him to renovate her mother's home.
He misled her into believing his marriage was over and that he was leaving his wife as soon as her new home was built.
His double life ended once his wife discovered the truth in the late summer or early fall of 2008 and wanted to separate.
Praljak cut both his wrists and was found by paramedics lying close to his mortally wounded wife.