Sanutti-Spencer Given Life Sentence for Murder, Arson

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BLOOMSBURG -- A woman from Snyder County convicted of murder was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole in Columbia County court.

Maria Sanutti-Spencer was found guilty of the murder of her ex-husband last month.

Sanutti-Spencer was, surprisingly, all smiles as she left the courtroom Friday. When asked why, she told us it's because she knows she's innocent.

However, people close to her ex-husband Frank Spencer tell us they don't see it that way and are happy to see her behind bars.

"They just sent an innocent person to prison and they took their mother from their kids and I think it's… I don't even have words for it," Sanutti-Spencer said as she left the Columbia County Courthouse in Bloomsburg.

She had just been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole after being found guilty of murder last month.

"I did not kill Frank Spencer and I never wanted Frank Spencer to die. I love that man and not so much that I didn't want anyone else to have him," Sanutti-Spencer said.

Prosecutors say Sanutti-Spencer killed her ex-husband Frank Spencer at his home near Millville in 2012.

A jury found her guilty of murder and also arson for setting fire to Spencer's home and the home of his girlfriend.

"People have been terrorized over an extended period of time and we are happy that we've gotten to this stage," said Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Forray.

Friends close to Frank Spencer think the sentence is a long time coming.

"I think she deserves it. I think the kids are going to be hurt," said Spencer's friend Steve Earnest.

One big question a lot of people had concerned Sanutti-Spencer's demeanor throughout the entire trial. She was always smiling. So when she left the courthouse, we asked her why that was. She said it's just her way of proving her innocence.

"I didn't kill him. So I try to be upbeat and I try to be positive. Everyone kept saying I was going to go home," said Sanutti-Spencer.

Before Sanutti-Spencer's sentence was handed down, the judge told her there is no happiness in a case like this, and it's unfortunate that the incident occurred but it occurred because someone was unable to say no.

Sanutti-Spencer is convinced the person unable to say no is her father Anthony Franklin, who is also charged in Spencer's death.

"Did your father kill Frank Spencer?"

"I believe so, yes, but he didn't do it for me," Sanutti-Spencer replied.

Recent reports indicate Sanutti-Spencer's father Anthony Franklin is to be extradited from Argentina to the United States to face trial.

Franklin fled to Argentina several years ago and was eventually detained. There is no word on when Franklin will be returned to the United States.

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