A 27-year-old Fairbanks man has been ordered to serve 60 years in prison after murdering his wife – the mother of three young children – nearly three years ago.

Fairbanks District Attorney Gregg Olson’s office announced Jason R. Gautam’s 85-year sentence Monday in the death of 25-year-old Tamara Santori. Superior Court Judge Bethany Harbison suspended 25 years of that sentence, after court records show Gautam entered an April change of plea in the Oct. 6, 2014 case.

“At the time of the shooting, his wife was gathering up her belongings in order to leave [Gautam] and go stay with a friend,” Olson wrote. “The investigation showed that divorce was a subject of frequent discussion between the two in the months preceding the murder.”

According to Olson’s office, Gautam admitted to smoking methamphetamine on the day before the shooting, then using both alcohol and marijuana on the same day. He told police he had meant to kill himself, but instead shot Santori after she returned home and the two began to argue.

The state had sought a 99-year sentence with no time suspended, while Gautam’s counsel sought a 50-year sentence with 10 years suspended. Harbison, however, said the court had to send a message that “when a person takes a life, especially in the confines of domestic violence, it would not be tolerated.”

Gautam was initially charged with first-degree murder, the crime to which he pleaded guilty, as well as second-degree murder.

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