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Wife-Beater Gets Life Term Under New Law

The first person convicted under the new federal domestic-violence law - a man who prosecutors say beat his wife bloody, then drove around with her in the trunk of his car - was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

Christopher Bailey, 35, of St. Albans was convicted in May of kidnapping and violating the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. He received the maximum 20-year penalty for violating the domestic-violence law and a life sentence for kidnapping.

The year-old domestic-violence law makes it illegal to cross a state line to abuse a spouse.

Prosecutors said Bailey beat his wife, stuffed her in the trunk of their compact car and drove aimlessly across West Virginia and Kentucky for six days before taking her to a hospital.

“I have rarely seen, if ever, a crime that was more heinous,” said U.S. District Judge Charles Haden II.

Sonya Bailey remains in a coma and has been unable to tell what happened during the odyssey.


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