N.J. Ex-Cop Who Killed His Wife Walks Free After 5 Years

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A New Jersey police officer convicted of killing his wife was released Friday after serving the minimum sentence, five years.

Former Millville police Sgt. Robert Vanaman, 45, was convicted of fatally shooting his wife, Barbara Elke Vanaman, 37, during an argument in their south Jersey home in May 2006.

Vanaman was given an eight-year sentence for manslaughter and an extra year for evidence tampering in May 2009. He admitted to cutting his arm with a steak knife to make it appear as if the shooting was in self-defense.

In 2011, a state appellate court rejected the sentence, ruling the sentencing judge inappropriately considered Vanaman's job while deciding his prison term. His charge was reduced to second-degree manslaughter with a maximum of six years.

“Tell me where the justice is,” John Shaffer, Barbara’s stepfather, told the Daily Journal of Vineland of Vanaman’s parole.

Shaffer said convicts have served more time for non-violent crimes that Vanaman has.

Larry Gregorio, deputy executive director of the state parole board, says Vanaman with be under state supervision for three years.

“He has 20 general conditions of mandatory supervision,” Gregorio said. “That’s a standard.”

Vanaman will be restricted to living in Cumberland County. He is not allowed to leave the state or stay overnight outside the county.

“One of which is that he is to refrain from any contact directly or through a third party with the victims of the offense or the victim’s relatives,” he added. “That would be unless authorized by the board panel or authorized by the appropriate court.”

Souces:, Daily Journal of Vineland