By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After pleading guilty to third-degree murder for strangling his wife, a Northeast Philadelphia man apologized today to his extended family and then received the maximum sentence allowed under the law.

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During victim impact statements, family and friends of the late Connie Murray, 46, described how her murder on the edge of Pennypack Park last August devastated everyone who knew her.

The husband, 49-year-old Christopher Murray sat at the defense table wiping away tears, with his head bowed in his hands.  He was then allowed to turn around and address the sobbing people in the gallery.

The clearly affected listeners heard Murray accept full responsibility, saying, “Every day I pray for forgiveness from God and my true love, Connie.”

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Judge Benjamin Lerner sentenced Murray to 20-40 years in prison.

Afterward, prosecutor Joanne Pescatore said she can’t imagine what the couple’s 12- and 17-year-old daughters are going through.

“Those girls are now orphans in every practical sense.  They’re now being raised by their uncle, but they have no mother and no father,” she said.

Murray originally reported his wife missing, and even took their older daughter out looking for her, but admitted to the crime four days later, when he failed a polygraph test.

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He also acknowledged that they had argued over text messages on his cell phone from another woman.