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N.J. Woman Sentenced For Strangling Her 81-Year-Old Mother With Necktie

Prosecutors: Tina Lunney Tried To Make Mother's Death Look Like Suicide
Tina Lunney

Tina Lunney has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for strangling her mother with a necktie in their Fairfield, N.J. home. (Credit: Essex County Prosecutor’s Office)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New Jersey woman was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the strangulation death of her mother in their home.

Tina Lunney, 46, of Fairfield, N.J., was convicted of killing her 81-year-old mother, Marie Zoppi, on July 22, 2009. She allegedly strangled the older woman using a man’s necktie, and tried to make it look like her mother had committed suicide.

She then used her dead mother’s credit cards to pay bills to Public Service Electric and Gas Company, settle debts and pay for a vacation to North Carolina, prosecutors said. Afterward, she fled to Atlantic City, but admitted to the crime upon returning and also confessed in five suicide notes that were in her pocketbook.

Essex County prosecutors said Lunney also was having an extramarital affair with a Fairfield police officer. It was also revealed at trial that she spent her husband’s $37,000 inheritance, prosecutors said.

Zoppi had lived for 14 years in a split-level home with Lunney, and Lunney’s husband and two children.

Lunney was convicted in May, but her attorney has vowed to appeal.

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