Man receives life in prison for murder of schoolteacher wife

Man receives life in prison for murder of schoolteacher wife

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED May 10, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Mark Franta was sentenced today for the November 2010 slaying of his wife Marybeth -- a popular teacher at Molasky Junior High School in northwest Las Vegas.

Franta, 51, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 10 years.

Franta pleaded guilty in March via an Alford plea, which means that he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors could prove their case against him.

Although no instances of domestic violence were ever reported to police, Marybeth's father Dale Nitzschke describes a history of domestic violence in their marriage.

"Marybeth tried very hard to shelter us from this reality but it became abundantly clear that abuse was happening," he said in court.

But the couple's children tell a very different story about their childhood, growing up in a loving and stable family.

"My dad unquestionably, undoubtedly, wholeheartedly loved my mom," said Ashley Franta, "I'm so fortunate to have grown up in a loving, non violent normal family."

But according to authorities, on the night of Nov. 13, 2010, Marybeth Franta returned home after attending a wedding and got into an argument with her husband, who had been drinking.

They allege that Mark Franta strangled his wife and then dumped her body behind a grocery store.

The next day, he reported his wife missing.

Video footage from two businesses captured Franta on tape near where his wife's body was found later the same day that she was reported missing.

Franta was arrested several days after his wife's body was found.

The defense pushed for the minimum sentence of 25 years in prison per the request of his children. They'd like to have some semblance of a normal life with their father in the future.

"There's a possibility that he could walk out of prison one day and maybe I'll get to hug my dad again, maybe I won't. That's just a part of life," said Brandon Franta.

That very well could be a possibility. Although Mark Franta received a life sentence he'll be up for parole in a little more than eight years.

Franta was scheduled to go on trial on a charge of open murder when he agreed to enter an Alford plea. He has never admitted to killing his wife.


Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani is the managing editor for and contributes to and