Romanian-born Cristian Loga-Negru admitted to killing his wife Roxana Abrudan in 2014 with a hatchet, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz handed down the sentence in court Wednesday afternoon against Loga-Negru, who pleaded in May no contest to first-degree intentional homicide and lost his insanity plea in July.
Gasiorkiewicz chastised Loga-Negru during the sentencing saying that his intent was to murder Abrudan.
He told Loga-Negru he should have believed more in the power of the law and rational thought because he is a lawyer. He didn’t support Loga-Negru’s defense that he suffered from a mental illness, even though he sought psychiatric help from the Veterans Administration and was prescribed medication when Abrudan left him a month before the murder.
Mental Illness Or Crime Of Passion?
Racine County Deputy District Attorney Tricia Hanson asked for life without the possibility of parole because this was “a classic case of domestic violence.” She pointed to how Loga-Negru had two law degrees and how he planned the murder by renting a car and buying a high powered computer and hatchet. She also highlighted how Loga-Negru threatened Abrudan and then stalked her the day of her murder.
“These were not mitigating factors, they were aggravating factors,” Hansen said.
But during the insanity hearing and in a sentencing memorandum, defense attorney Patrick Cafferty pointed to how a Veterans’ Administration doctor prescribed an anti-psychotic medication to Loga-Negru weeks before the murder. But he never got that prescription because it was sent to his apartment after he had been given an order to leave by an Illinois judge.
“It is clear from the examinations of Mr. Loga-Negru by three psychiatrists and the Mental Health Services staff at the Racine County Jail that Mr. Loga-Negru has a mental health disease or defect,” Cafferty wrote. “At the time Mr. Loga-Negru committed this offense, he was extremely anxious, unstable, isolated, in crisis, mentally and physically exhausted, and at a very low point emotionally.”
Witness Asks For Life Without Parole
The Arlington Heights, IL, couple had been married for about a month before she had a restraining order served on Loga-Negru for domestic abuse.
Michael Enz, Abrudan’s boss, asked for a life sentence for Loga-Negru.
Enz and his wife took her in after Loga-Negru threatened her while she was working. Abrudan told Enz there was nothing he could do, that she should just quit before her co-workers got hurt and “take her medicine.” Enz and his wife saw the bruises on Abrudan. She told them that he head butted her for hours until she passed out and woke up again to him head butting her again.
“He’s a wife beater and in my opinion an absolute coward, which is why he murdered a defenseless woman,” Enz told the court. “She told me she was not a legal resident, which I didn’t know at the time because she had been contracted by a consulting firm to work for me.”
An Illinois court granted Abrudan a restraining order. Loga-Negru told her she “needed to stop this if she knew what was good for her,” Enz said.
Days before the murder, Abrudan believed that Loga-Negru would kill her and she asked them to take her to church. The couple stayed with her constantly to reassure her. And when Enz received a phone call from his mother saying that she was in the hospital, he asked Abrudan to pick up his mother’s dog from her house.
Loga-Negru, who had tracked her down to Mount Pleasant, waited for Abrudan to come home. Abrudan called Enz five blocks away before she got to the house. Enz’s wife was home when she heard the truck pull up. But when she opened the garage door she heard nothing.
When Enz came home his neighbor was sitting outside. He found a bloody hatchet, a leash and a collar belonging to his mother’s dog, a pool of blood and body parts in his front lawn.
“I have to deal with this everyday,” Enz said. “I hope the murderer thinks of what he did every day of his life… you are a cold-hearted murderer.”
Judge Sides with Prosecution, Opts for ‘Humanity’
In Gasiorkiewicz mind, however, Loga-Negru’s actions were done on purpose and he had full knowledge of his actions.
“If Roxana wanted to use you to become a U.S. citizen, you wouldn’t have been the first man to be used by a woman,” Gasiorkiewicz said. “It’s still not a reason for someone to be beaten, demeaned or killed.”
But Gasiorkiewicz could have sentenced Loga-Negru to life in prison without a chance of parole. Yet, he stopped short of that saying he could not give up on humanity.
“I can’t give up on the human spirit,” he said. “… I can’t deprive an individual of hope. When you take away hope, there is nothing.”
Still, the sentencing decision weighed heavily on him in the context of Loga-Negru’s actions.
“You asked for humanity, but what hope did Roxana have?” he asked.