Michael Sturgell, 72, sentenced to 25 years to life for murder | TheUnion.com

Michael Sturgell, 72, sentenced to 25 years to life for murder

Michael Sturgell

The deputy slowly advanced until he stood between both sides in the Michael Sturgell murder case.

Supporters of Sturgell, 72, and the woman he fatally shot — 67-year-old Pamela DeGrio — muttered at times before the Nevada County judge sentenced Sturgell on Friday to 25 years to life for murder, plus two years for first-degree burglary.

Some of Sturgell’s family gasped in the courtroom when Bud DeGrio, an ex-husband of the victim, theorized about why Sturgell killed his former spouse.

“The thing that’s left on both sides of the family is why? Why?” Bud DeGrio asked.

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Brieana DeGrio, Pamela DeGrio’s granddaughter, called her grandmother a friend and mentor, saying she had much more to teach and give.

“I can hardly sleep at night knowing you can be murdered by someone you’ve known your entire life.”

John Sturgell, the defendant’s brother, raised his hand in an attempt to speak. Moments later he stood and told Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger that he understands a jury convicted his brother of murder.

“But I can absolutely tell you that my brother did not shoot her, period,” John Sturgell said. “It did not happen.”

Authorities have said that Michael Sturgell, who once was married to the victim, shot DeGrio between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, 2018, at her North Bloomfield Road home. Stolen weapons and DNA led them to charge Michael Sturgell with murder.

Michael Sturgell pleaded no contest in April 2018 to an unrelated first-degree burglary. A jury convicted him of murder last month.

Defense attorney Sam Berns, who represents Michael Sturgell, asked for his client’s sentences to run together. Instead the judge sentenced him to consecutive terms.

Michael Sturgell will serve his two-year burglary sentence before starting his sentence for murder, Deputy District Attorney Ed Grubaugh said.

“Unfortunately, in these circumstances, sometimes the ‘Why’ is never found,” Heidelberger said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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