Tampa Bay area man gets life sentence for killing elderly neighbor woman

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CLEARWATER, Florida — A Tampa Bay area man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing and robbing an elderly neighbor woman.

As part of a deal with Pinellas County prosecutors, 38-year-old Dominic Panzino pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder, grand theft of a motor vehicle, burglary and scheme to defraud. He could have faced a possible death sentence if the case had gone to a jury trial.

Authorities say Panzino went to 91-year-old Kathryn Schroepfor's Clearwater home in May 2012, claiming he needed to use her phone. While Schroepfor wasn't looking, Panzino began rifling through her purse. But when she caught him, he began beating her and eventually strangled her.

The Tampa Tribune (http://goo.gl/XN3383 ) reports that Panzino fled the state but was eventually arrested in Massachusetts.

Information from: The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com

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