JACKSONVILLE, Fl. - A Florida man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for his wife's murder, which was witnessed by their then-toddler son who found his mother's buried body 21 years later.
Michael Haim, 52, was convicted last month of second-degree murder, the Florida Times-Union reported.
Haim maintained his innocence at the stand, as he had since his wife's disappearance in 1993.
The jury, made up of three men and three women, deliberated for over an hour before reaching a verdict on the case. Haim showed no expression as the verdict was revealed.
"I loved my wife," Haim testified, according to WJXT. "I would never hurt my wife."
Bonnie Haim was 23 when she disappeared in January 1993 and would have turned 50 on Monday.
Police found the woman's purse, along with IDs, credit cards and cash, inside a hotel trash bin near the Jacksonville airport, and her car was found in the airport parking lot. Michael Haim told investigators she had left home the previous night following an argument.
The couple's 3-year-old son Aaron told police his father had shot the woman, but no body was found. Michael Haim was not charged and lived off his dead wife's life insurance policy for years.
Shortly after his mother's disappearance, Fraser told a welfare worker "Daddy hurt Mommy," WJXT reported.
"Aaron also stated that, 'Daddy shot Mommy,' and, 'My daddy could not wake her up,'" a 2015 arrest affidavit said, according to WJXT.
When Bonnie Haim did not show up to work on Jan. 7, 1993, Michael said the couple had fought the night before and she had left the house at around 11 p.m. When questioned by a prosecutor as to why he went to bed the night his wife left home, Haim claimed he thought she had gone to her mother's house.
According to the prosecution, Haim knew his wife had been planning on leaving him and taking the couple's 3-year-old with her. The night before she went missing, she called her best friend in tears, saying she'd speak with her in the morning.
Aaron Fraser, who was later adopted and took his new family's name, eventually won a wrongful death lawsuit against his biological father and got his home.
Fraser was excavating behind his childhood home in 2014 as part of a renovation when he found his mother's remains. Haim was soon arrested.
Investigators had searched the property multiple times following Bonnie's disappearance, but it was only until Fraser dug up the backyard that her remains were found.
"It was very tough," Fraser said. "I think everybody can imagine, even if it's not a loved one, finding a skull and picking it up and what that would do to somebody. Not to mention, that it was your mother."
According to a testimony, Bonnie's remains were found under a shower pallet buried in the backyard. A .22 caliber shell was found near the body, and Michael Haim owned a .22 caliber rifle.
Sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder in 1993 suggested seven to 22 years in prison. Bonnie Haim's family had asked the judge to consider giving Michael Haim at least 26 years for the time she has been gone while he remained free.
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