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Dr. Robert Neulander sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of his wife

Tom Magnarelli
Dr. Robert Neulander speaks to the court before he is sentenced.


Dr. Robert Neulander was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on Thursday for the murder of his wife Leslie Neulander in 2012. The trial of the prominent OB-GYN has shocked and fascinated the Syracuse community.


Onondaga County Court Judge Thomas Miller said he did not sentence Neulander to the maximum 25 years to life in prison because of the emotional toll taken on the Neulander family. They have maintained that Neulander is innocent. But Judge Miller also did not sentence the minimum 15 years in prison after scrutinizing the jurors' verdict.


Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Onondaga County Court Judge Thomas Miller.

“Unlike your well-intentioned family, that jury did not share the blinders of love, loyalty and emotion," Judge Miller said. "But rather they, logically and systematically reviewed the evidence in this case, which they found to be overwhelming.”

Joanne London, the sister of Leslie Neulander, said she and many others in the family believe Dr. Neulander is not guilty.


“Had any of us had even slightly suspected foul play of any sort we would not be here today on Bob's behalf,” London said.


Neulander also spoke to the court before he was sentenced and said he was wrongly convicted. 


“I love my wife, Leslie and I now, and forever, continue to mourn her everyday,” Neulander said.


Defense attorney Gerald Shargel asked the judge to take into account Neulander's background and history when issuing his sentence.


“He was so important to this family," Shargel said. "He is still loved by this family. They miss him dearly. They are shattered by what's occuring here.”


Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
District Attorney William Fitzpatrick (left) speaks to reporters after the sentencing.

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said he was satisfied with the judge's sentence.

“It's the right verdict," Fitzpatrick said. "The judge really, I thought, eloquently stated it, that the jury worked very hard, they were unbiased, they went through the evidence and the evidence, frankly, when you listen to it, is overwhelming. People can't grasp the concept that a bad human being can, in their lifetime, can do some good things and that's the case here. But what he did to his wife and then to involve his daughter, to me that wipes the slate clean.”


Jenna Neulander, the daughter of Robert and Leslie, testified that she saw and helped move her mother's body after Robert told her to call 911. Leslie Neulander died in September of 2012 in what was initially ruled an accident. An investigation in 2013 led to charges being filed against Robert Neulander. Neulander's attorneys say they will file an appeal.


Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.