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Jury Rejects Killer’s Steroid Defense

Wed., May 3, 1995

A weightlifter who said he gunned down his estranged wife in a steroid-induced rage was found guilty of murder Tuesday by a jury that deliberated less than six hours.

Robert L. Bianchi, 32, sobbed as the verdict was read aloud in Superior Court. The family of his late wife, Donna, remained quiet after earlier reading a statement against him.

Judge Sandra Hamlin sentenced Bianchi to life in prison without chance of parole.

On May 6, 1994, he chased his wife down a sidewalk and shot her five times after she tripped and fell.

Bianchi did not deny the killing, but blamed his actions on the use of steroids, which some athletes take to help build muscle. Bianchi, who weighed 320 pounds and competed in power-lifting competitions at the time, took $1,400 worth of steroids each week, his lawyer said.

Prosecutors said he methodically stalked his wife, killed her, then fled to Elizabeth, N.J., hiding the murder weapon in the process.

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