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A former Ohio doctor was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for poisoning his wife with cyanide five years ago.

The judge sentencing Yazeed Essa for the aggravated murder of his wife, Rosemarie, lamented that she could not hand down a stiffer sentence because his crime occurred before a change in the law.

Essa, 41, will be eligible for parole in 20 years, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason said. His crime occurred before Ohio sentencing laws were changed to give judges discretion in determining when a convicted murderer is eligible for parole.

Dressed in an orange jailhouse jumpsuit, Essa did not betray an emotion as Cuyahoga County Judge Deena Calabrese addressed him.

“I regret that you have the benefit of committing this crime under the old law,” Calabrese told Essa.

“You took an oath to preserve life and you destroyed your family,” she said. I cannot imagine the evil that you have done to these people, especially your children. It is my great hope and the only that I can think of at this moment that they forget you … and that whatever legacy you had is wiped away.”

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