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Prison Sentence for El Cerrito Man Who Pleaded Guilty to Killing Jail Nurse

Aaron Nygaard, 38, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon

By Bay City News—

An El Cerrito man was sentenced to 12 years in prison today for the unprovoked killing of a 55-year-old nurse who was treating him while he was incarcerated in county jail in Martinez in 2010.
 
Aaron Nygaard, 38, received the sentence today after pleading guilty in Contra Costa County Superior Court to charges of voluntary manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon in connection with the death of Cynthia Palomata.
 
Nygaard was originally charged with murder for Palomata's killing but reached a plea agreement with the district attorney's office. The deal was reached after psychiatrists told the court that they believed Nygaard fit the legal definition of insanity at the time of the killing, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox. Prosecutors said he suddenly attacked the victim while she was treating him for alcohol withdrawal in the jail on the afternoon of Oct. 25, 2010.
 
Hours after he was arrested for burglarizing an El Cerrito home, Nygaard faked a seizure in the hopes of being released from the holding cell where he was being held, authorities said. While at the nursing station, after admitting that he had faked the seizure, Nygaard suddenly grabbed a lamp off of a desk and used it to strike Palomata in the head.
 
The victim, who had worked as a nurse in Bay Area hospitals for two decades and at the Martinez Detention Facility for five years, was taken to John Muir Medical Center where she died three days later. Today, the court heard from many of Palomata's family members and former co-workers.
 
"She leaves behind a family who is grieving and misses her - it's just a tragic loss of someone who was attempting to do good for those who needed her," Knox said today.

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Frank Ocean April 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM
Complete failure on the part of the court system. 12 years is not the appropriate sentence for murder. Factor in the amount of time he already spent in custody along with time off for good behavior, he will be out in a very short time. Yet again the court fails to protect the community.
Alvin Mabuhay April 12, 2014 at 06:20 PM
F.O. is spot on. Not sure is most people realize that 12 years is actually 6 years unless the sentence carries a mandate for doing a greater percentage of the actual sentence. The D.A.'s office is obsessed with convictions rather than justice. It is sickening how they pat themselves on the back for getting a conviction while at the same time, slapping the victim's family in the face. What a bunch of pussies!
Autumn Johnson April 14, 2014 at 05:53 PM
If your comment has been deleted, please repost it without the implied profanity.

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