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Police: Beverly man told officers he 'lost it' before strangling his wife


BEVERLY, Massachusetts — A Beverly man with a history of mental illness has pleaded not guilty to strangling his estranged wife.

Axel Scherer was arraigned Tuesday on charges including first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say the 45-year-old Scherer and his wife, Edith Black-Scherer, had experienced marital problems as a result of his mental health before recently reconciling.

Scherer was discharged from a mental health program on Nov. 13. Prosecutors say he strangled his wife three days later. She died Saturday.

Police say Scherer turned himself on Nov. 16, and said he "lost it" and strangled Black-Scherer while they were cuddling.

Scherer's lawyer said his client is "despondent."

Scherer is being held without bail. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

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