By Bria Brown

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man who said he had a role in his wife’s murder in the Grand Rapids area in 2006 was sentenced Monday to at least 25 years in prison.

The death of Renee Pagel was unsolved until earlier this year when authorities charged Mike Pagel, who was her estranged husband 14 years ago. She was seeking a divorce.

Pagel, 55, claims to have hired a family member to kill Renee Pagel at her Kent County home, though investigators have found no evidence of a conspiracy. He pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder.

“The stress of the divorce and the custody battle was more than I could take. I was not in my right mind,” Pagel told a judge Monday.

Pagel asked his three children, who were in the courtroom, for forgiveness. He moved with them to the Saginaw area after Renee Pagel’s death.

“Your mom loved you very much and would be very proud to see how well her children have grown,” Pagel said.

He will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years in prison.

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