Tuesday September 20, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- A 37-year-old North Adams man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court to murdering his wife and was given life in prison with the chance for parole.

Eugene Shade II, 37, admitted strangling his estranged wife, Julie Shade, at her Edgewood Avenue residence in North Adams on July 22, 2008. He said he "snapped" during an argument over their recent separation.

The 22-year-old mother of two never regained consciousness after the attack. Eight days later, she died from cardiac arrest related to strangulation at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Tuesday, Julie Shade's mother, Cathy Felix, gave an emotion-filled and tearful statement in court prior to sentencing. She said her daughter had plans for the future and had "much to still do in life" before her murder.

The lives of their entire family had been shattered, Felix said, with the hardest times being around the holidays and birthdays.

"We'll never be the same," she said.

First Berkshire Assistant District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello told Judge John A. Agostini, that no sentence would make the family whole again.

A joint recommendation of life in prison with the possibility of parole -- the mandatory sentence for second degree murder -- and a concurrent two- to three-year state prison sentence on a charge of of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was offered in the case.

Leonard H. Cohen, Shade's attorney, said the case had "tragic overtones" and dealt with "human frailty."

He commended the Berkshire District Attorney's Office for agreeing to the plea deal, which "took into account what happened that day."

Agostini abided by the deal in his sentencing.

Shade, who has been in jail since his arrest in 2008, will be eligible for parole after about 11 1/2 years, according to Cohen.