NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) – A former Ware man has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole after being found guilty in the bludgeoning death of an 83-year-old woman.

A Hampshire Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a full day before convicting 27-year-old Nathan Ruell of first-degree murder, armed robbery and arson.

Prosecutors said Rose Ann Martowski – a great-grandmother – was struck at least eight times in the head during the Oct. 10, 2005, attack in her Ware home.

Prosecutors said Ruell broke into the victim’s house intending to steal money and jewelry. He was linked to the crime by DNA found on a cigarette left behind.

Defense attorney Alan Black argued during the trial that a cigarette butt was not enough evidence to convict his client.

Woman charged in husband’s death

ALFRED (AP) – A Wells woman has been charged with murder for allegedly dousing her husband with gasoline and setting him on fire while he slept.

A York County grand jury on Wednesday indicted 42-year-old Kimberly Spampinato on murder and arson charges.

Spampinato was initially charged with attempted murder and arson after her husband, Christopher Spampinato, was burned over 85 percent of his body shortly after midnight on Jan. 8. He died Jan. 17 in a Boston hospital.

According to court documents, Spampinato allegedly poured gasoline on her husband and set him on fire using a lighter and newspaper.

UNH using electric truck

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) – Rising gas prices won’t affect the newest vehicle at the University of New Hampshire.

UNH’s housing department put an electric truck on the road last week. Housing Manager Stephen Luber the truck can hit 25 miles per hour and travel more than 60 miles before needing a recharge. Luber says it’s like an expanded golf cart with a truck bed.

Mass. is closing 3 animal shelters

BOSTON (AP) -The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has announced the closing of three adoption centers, citing the economic downturn.

MSPCA said Thursday the planned closures of centers in Brockton, Martha’s Vineyard and Springfield will result in the elimination 46 positions and will begin in the coming months.

MSPCA president Carter Luke said the move was necessary after the non-profit group lost more than $11 million, or 25 percent of its endowment, in 2008.

The group will still operate four adoption centers and two hospitals around the state.

Brian Adams, a MSPCA spokesman, said animals at the closed centers who are not adopted out will be transferred to other centers.

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