Salem man sentenced to life without parole for murder of estranged wife

Salem man sentenced to life without parole for murder of estranged wife

SALEM, Mass. — A Salem Superior Court jury found a local man guilty of the 2016 murder of his estranged wife.

Judge James Lang sentenced 53-year-old Douglas Steeves to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of 48-year-old Carmela Saunders.

Prosecutors presented evidence that proved Steeves, on Aug. 2, 2016, strangled Saunders to death inside her Salem, Massachusetts apartment while two of their five children and grandchildren were in the next room.

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Steeves then left the apartment, visited a motorcycle club in Beverly and then went to the Salem Police station to report the crime.

Prior to her murder, Saunders had taken out a restraining order against Steeves and had filed for divorce.

Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio showed evidence that Steeves had texted one of his daughters, saying Sauders' "days were numbered" in the weeks leading up to her death.

In his closing statement ADA Camelio said the murder was a culmination of years of anger, hatred, and jealousy and not a crime committed in the heat of passion, as Steeves had argued.

"Carmela Saunders was a mother and a grandmother whose life was needlessly, selfishly and cruelly cut short by this defendant," Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. "While this verdict and sentence provide justice to her family and friends, nothing we do can alleviate their grief and loss."

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