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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Jufer pleads guilty to murdering wife

  • HONESDALE-A man accused of killing his wife pleaded guilty Thursday morning and is now awaiting sentencing.
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  • HONESDALE-A man accused of killing his wife pleaded guilty Thursday morning and is now awaiting sentencing.
    Robert Jufer, 72, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a felony 1 punishable by "up to 20 years in prison," as well as tampering with evidence, a misdemeanor 2, punishable by "up to two years in prison."
    Jufer could also be fined $25,000 for voluntary manslaughter and a $5,000 for tampering with evidence.
    He also agreed to "pay all costs of prosecution, payment of all laboratory user fees, if any, make full restitution, if appropriate."
    This plea comes just days before his trial was going to take place. It was set to start on Monday after jury selection.
    The case has been in the court system for about a year now. Jufer is accused of killing his wife, June, in October of 2010.
    He was arrested in February for allegedly shooting his wife June on Oct. 17, 2010. He was arraigned for one count of criminal homicide and was taken to the Wayne County Prison. Jufer was given no bail since it was a murder.
    A preliminary hearing was held in April with several witnesses and people involved with the investigation testifying.
    Jufer said that he returned home from the store on Oct. 17, 2010and was attacked in his house, rendered unconscious and that when he regained consciousness he went to his neighbor's home.
    Responding troopers discovered the body of June Jufer, deceased, in her bed.
    An autopsy of June Jufer was performed on Oct. 18, 2010 and the cause of death was a shotgun wound to the head and manner of death was ruled homicide. A shotgun was located on the floor near the victim.
    Subsequent interviews were conducted with Jufer in which he gave conflicting reports of the attack. Additionally, his lack of injury to his neck coupled with
    physical evidence at the scene did not match the events as he reported them.
    Court documents claim he went so far as to say he used the murder weapon earlier that morning to "look for a muskrat" near the residence and returned to the home where he placed it on the kitchen table before going to Wal-Mart.
    He admitted that he did not look for his wife or arm himself with a weapon before fleeing the residence after the alleged attack.
    A search of the Jufer residence revealed 108 rifles, shotguns and handguns in the home. The weapon located in June Jufer's bedroom, which was the weapon that killed her, was owned by Robert Jufer.
    Jufer was located at his other home in Hastings on the Hudson, Westchester County, New York, and the arrest warrant was served by PSP and Hastings on the Hudson law enforcement.
    Page 2 of 3 - He was taken into custody without incident. He appeared before a Westchester County City Court judge for an extradition hearing before coming back to Pennsylvania.
    A preliminary hearing was held in April with several witnesses and people involved with the investigation testifying.
    In August Jufer's attorneys, Bill Peters and Robert Buttner, submitted a motion during the pre-trial hearing, to exclude police interviews from the trial because he was "never read his Miranda rights."
    That hearing included Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Troopers John Decker, Adam Kowalczyk and Corporal William Castaldi
    Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards, representing the Commonwealth in this case, said that this kind of motion is to "squash information" the state has, saying that there "isn't enough" to take to a jury.
    Judge Raymond Hamill, who is presiding on the case, gave the Commonwealth 10 days to respond to the defense's submission and then the defense had five days after that to respond.
    The Commonwealth had an expert who was going to testify by phone, but the defense objected to it because they felt that by not seeing the expert in person, they "couldn't tell the accuracy" of his statement.
    Last Friday morning, James J. McNamara, a consultant for Behavioral Criminology International in Virginia, was in court to testify on the Jufer case. He works as a criminal investigative analyst, providing behavioral analysis of crimes, particularly violent crimes.
    McNamara reviews investigations submitted by law enforcement agencies and provides expert witness testimony, behavioral analysis, crime scene assessment, information regarding unknown offender characteristics (profiles), recommended investigative strategies and major case management and developed interview and prosecutive strategies.
    He also provides analyses of statements and threats, staging and signature behavior, and crime linkage.
    "We get invited in to assist investigating agencies," he stated. "I help them come to conclusions on the case and I also research more of the case with the help of reports from the agencies."
    In his report he stated that with the Jufer case, the scene was a "staged crime scene."
    He was asked what a staged crime scene means, to which he stated that the offender "physically alters evidence to misdirect investigators."
    "They are portraying the scene to be something else," McNamara stated. "This would be a personal cause homicide, meaning there's a personal motive behind the crime."
    He added that this also means the motive isn't for sex or money purposes.
    Earlier this week Judge Hamill made the decision to exclude McNamara's testimony from the trial. A court report stated "the defense motion to exclude testimony of the expert witness is granted."
    With a major turn of events, Jufer pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence on Thursday.
    Page 3 of 3 - Both the Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards and Jufer's attorney Bill Peters made no comment, saying they can't do so until after Jufer is sentenced.
    As of now Jufer will be sentenced on Jan. 2, 2014.
    He remains in jail.

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