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Sailor who tried to kill wife with rat poison faces 21 years in prison

SAN DIEGO -- A former Navy sailor who tried three times to poison his wife at their rural East County home with a toxic metal that was formerly used as a rat poison and ant killer was slated to be sentenced to 21 years to life in prison Thursday.

Race Remington Uto, 28, pleaded guilty in December to three counts of premeditated attempted murder for trying to poison his wife Brigida three times over a five-month span in Dulzura.

Brigida Uto confronted her ex-husband, Race Uto, at his sentencing hearing Thursday.

“I wanted to believe I knew the man I had married three years before and had a relationship with for almost ten years – I wanted to believe he would never hurt me. I was terrified at the thought he could be the person responsible for trying to kill me," said Brigida McInvale as she read a statement in court.

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, became involved in the case in March of last year, after doctors informed them that Uto's wife was undergoing emergency medical treatment due to an "extreme level" of thallium in her system, according to sheriff's Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam.

Medical staff and investigators believed the victim's exposure to thallium was intentional, and Uto was arrested. Thallium is a highly toxic metal once widely used in insecticides, but that use is now banned in the United States.

McInvale described her pain and suffering having spent months in the hospital losing her hair and feeling in her limbs.

“How could you do this to the mother of your son? Why are you the one to decide I’m not a worthy mother to your son? How do you decide the only way out of a marriage is to kill your wife slowly as you watch her struggle for months?" said McInvale.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Reizen said the defendant tried to poison his wife in August and December of 2017 and January of 2018.

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