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A Buffalo man who beat his wife to death last year received a 25-year prison sentence Tuesday after her mother urged the judge to send him away for as long as possible.

Erie County Judge Sheila M. DiTullio sentenced Antoine Mattox, 32, to the maximum term for first-degree manslaughter in the fatal March 11 attack on Nedra Thomas-Mattox, 38.

“You brutally and mercilessly beat your wife to death with your own hands,” the judge said, noting that he also kicked her and beat her with an iron.

He also set her on fire for no reason during one of his “vicious and angry tirades,” DiTullio said.

“You should not walk the streets for a long time,” DiTullio said. “Society must be protected from a person like you.”

She chastised Mattox for taking the life of “a wonderful woman and good mother” who raised three good children.

As the judge described the brutal attack, the victim’s mother, Dorothy Thomas, and other family members in the courtroom cried out.

Thomas told the judge the children miss their mother dearly. She said the victim’s son, who is autistic, looks at his mother’s picture daily and says “Nedra.”

One of the two daughters acts like a mother to her brother and helps take care of him, Thomas said. The other daughter is upset her mother never had the chance to see the daughter’s son, who was born after the fatal attack.

Thomas urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence on Mattox.

“She loved him more than she did us,” she said. “Then he turned around and took her from us.”

Brian K. Parker, Mattox’s third assigned attorney in the case, said his client wanted to apologize to the family, but he was unable to speak at the sentencing hearing because he underwent mouth surgery.

Mattox was originally charged with second-degree murder in the fatal attack on his wife of 10 years in their Andover Avenue home. Their landlord found her body after Mattox fled. Police arrived at the scene that afternoon and found the couple’s 10-year-old son at home. A younger daughter was at school. The older daughter did not live there.

Mattox was arrested at a Rochester bus terminal. Police believe he was returning to Virginia, where the couple once lived and where he has relatives.

He pleaded guilty in October to the reduced charge, with the understanding he would be sentenced to the maximum prison term. He was supposed to be sentenced in early December, but at that time, he told the judge he wanted to withdraw his plea. He said one of his previous lawyers coerced him into taking the plea.

He also told the judge he wanted a new attorney. Parker was later assigned to the case. In early January, he indicated he wanted to get a fourth attorney and withdraw his plea.

But Parker said Tuesday that his client had changed his mind again and wanted to be sentenced on the manslaughter charge.

The judge sentenced Mattox as a second-felony offender. Assistant District Attorney Gary W. Hackbush said Mattox had been convicted Nov. 19, 2002, of attempted robbery in Virginia.

Mattox has a criminal record dating back to 1999, mostly involving crimes in Virginia.

email: jstaas@buffnews.com