MENTOR, Ohio -- A former police officer from northeast Ohio has been sentenced to serve at least 16 years in prison in the slaying of his wife – whose body was found wrapped in plastic inside a sleeping bag at their home last fall.

Gary Stroud, a 58-year-old former Lake County sheriff's deputy and Mentor police officer, pleaded guilty last month to charges that he beat his 53-year-old wife, Diane, in the head with a hammer. Then he wrapped her body and left it in the garage of their home.

At the sentencing Wednesday, Stroud said he loved his wife and was recovering from a head injury due to a stroke when he killed her. He also apologized to his children and the police agencies.

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  • Gary Stroud before his March trial. He was indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, three counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of felonious assault, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

  • Gary Stroud murdered his wife, Diane Stroud, pictured above, with a hammer. She had not been seen for six weeks before her body was discovered hidden in the garage.

  • Gary Stroud sits at his arraignment on the charge of murder.

  • Gary Stroud awaits his sentence in court. He received a sentence of 16 years for killing his wife with a hammer.