A Jay man who was convicted of beating his girlfriend to death is sentenced to 38 years in prison.

58-year-old James Sweeney was accused of beating 51-year-old Wendy Douglass to death with a baseball bat in July of 2017. Sweeney is deaf and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. WABI-TV reports he had his lawyer read a letter in court that professed his love for Wendy and claimed that his mental illness led to her death.

Douglass's mother and 27-year-old daughter spoke in court, saying that Wendy was taken from them much too soon. Her daughter said she also suffers from mental illness and found it appalling that Sweeney would use that as an excuse to kill.

According to WGME-TV, court documents said Sweeney turned himself into police, handing officers a letter. On it was written, "I'm going to jail cause I hurt my girlfriend. Please check Wendy Douglass at 5 Jewell St. Jay. I did wrong." In addition, a note was reportedly found on a door that said, " Wendy I love you. You ruin my love. I already know you cheat on me. You lie lie lie a lot. Ted."

Despite the notes, prosecutors say Sweeney never confessed to the murder.

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