John James "JJ" Paulsen, 49, former writer for "The Cosby Show" and "In Living Color" will serve approximately 12 years behind bars for beating his wife Leanne to death in their Carmel home. A Hamilton County Judge sentenced Paulsen Friday to a maximum 26 years for voluntary manslaughter, neglect of a dependant (his sixteen month old son), and moving of a corpse. Paulsen originally was charged with murder for the beating and killing of his wife in April 2007. Leanne's body was found partially mummified in their upstairs attic. A plea agreement was reached for voluntary manslaughter.
"We're happy he got the maximum," said Sonia Leerkamp, Hamilton County prosecutor.
Though Paulsen received 26 years, typically a convict will serve just half of his sentence in Indiana. In this state, a convict typically gets one day's credit for each day served.
After Paulsen's career faltered in New York, he moved back to Indiana with Leanne, who relatives say, wanted to start a family. But family members say Paulsen refused to give up his dreams to continue writing for TV. Prosecutors say his career had dried up and the couple was in financial turmoil. During sentencing Friday, attorneys said the couple was in a toxic, co-dependant relationship with both suffering from alcoholism. Leanne's sister's testified that Paulsen isolated his wife from her family. Paulsen had prior charges for domestic violence. Hamilton County prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp said Leanne's family was happy with the sentence. They say Paulsen's apology in court rang hollow.
"It's hard to sit there and think he's remorseful when he's just now saying two years later that he's expressing remorse," said Leerkamp.