updated 1/24/2005 8:49:27 PM ET 2005-01-25T01:49:27

An elementary school teacher who hacked her husband to death with a hatchet was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Before she was sentenced, Nancy Seaman read a statement in which she called the jury’s guilty verdict “a miscarriage of justice” and a “tragic mistake.” She said she would appeal.

Prosecutors said Seaman argued with her husband, Robert, last Mother’s Day, went to Home Depot to buy a hatchet, returned to their home and killed him with it. Police found Robert Seaman’s body in his wife’s sport utility vehicle a few days later.

Nancy Seaman claimed that she bought the hatchet for yard work and that the couple got into an argument the next morning in which her husband of 31 years menaced her with a steak knife. She said she grabbed the nearest thing to defend herself.

“I fought like my life depended on it because it did,” Seaman said Monday. “If I didn’t kill him, he would have killed me. That’s how it usually ends for abused women.”

Prosecutors said she took elaborate steps to cover up her crime, wrapping the body in a tarp and painting the walls and bleaching the floor of the garage where the killing took place. She also shoplifted another hatchet and returned it to Home Depot with her original receipt.

The defense argued that Seaman suffered from battered-woman syndrome, which led her to cover up past abuse and not seek help.

Oakland County Circuit Judge John McDonald said he didn’t “doubt for a minute” that Seaman was physically and emotionally abused. But he said jurors did not believe the abuse was so severe that it excused killing her husband.

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