A 30-year-old New York man may spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing his estranged pregnant wife three years ago, strangling her to death inside her home because he didn't want to pay for the baby's health insurance.
Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Robert A. McDonald on Thursday ordered Michael Owen to serve a sentence of 25 years to life in a state correctional facility for the 2020 slaying of 27-year-old Kelly Owen, authorities announced.
A jury in Nassau County convicted Michael Owen on one count of second-degree murder in his estranged wife's brutal death in July 2023.
"Michael Owen drove to his estranged wife's house on January 15, 2020, with the intention of killing her," County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said in a statement following the sentencing hearing. "Kelly was a young mother and pregnant with Owen's child at the time of her brutal murder. She worked with children and had dreams of becoming a nurse. Michael Owen stole those dreams, and now he will pay for his crimes in prison. Our thoughts remain with Kelly's family as they continue to mourn her loss."
Michael Killed Kelly After Learning She was Pregnant with His Second Child, was in a Relationship with Another Woman
Michael and Kelly Owen married in 2013, had a child together, and then separated in March 2018. They continued a physical relationship for some time after separating, but authorities said that too ended when Michael Owen became violent.
Investigators determined that Michael Owen decided to kill his wife, a nursing student, after she told him she was pregnant with their second child. Prosecutors said that Michael Owens already had money problems as well as a new girlfriend and didn't want another baby. Evidence showed that he particularly did not want to pay for the new baby's medical insurance.
"He did not want this child," Nassau police Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said in a statement after his arrest. "He did not want to give her medical insurance. He had this new relationship he was involved in, and he was in a bad position."
Michael Captured on Surveillance Cameras the Morning of Kelly's Slaying, His DNA was Found Around Her Neck
According to the DA's Office, Kelly Owen on Jan. 15, 2020, was at her apartment located in the 1200 block of First Avenue in Farmingdale when the attack took place. Kelly Owen's apartment was in her parents' home and on that morning, her father walked her 6-year-old son to school. She and Michael Owen shared custody of the boy.
Kelly Owen worked as an aftercare program aide at a local elementary school between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., prosecutors said. When she failed to call in sick or show up for work that day, a colleague called her parents to see where she was. Kelly Owen's parents then discovered her lifeless body inside the apartment.
An autopsy determined she had been strangled to death with "a rope-like object" and was in the early stages of pregnancy. Surveillance footage obtained by investigators showed that Michael Owen had been in the victim's neighborhood at about 9:30 a.m. on the morning of her death.
"Michael Owen — who was employed as a cell site technician — parked two blocks away from Kelly's home and turned his phone off before arriving in Farmingdale, making his cellphone location undetectable," prosecutors wrote in the release.
However, authorities said they recovered Michael Owen's DNA from the area around the victim's neck. He was arrested later that month and charged with murder.