Earlier this month, a Pembine man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

He was spared a life sentence because a plea arrangement reduced the charge from first-degree intentional homicide to first-degree reckless homicide. At age 56, but with credit for time served, the killer will be eligible for release to extended supervision at age 95.

The defendant had no domestic violence-related crimes on his record, according to online documents. Yet this clearly was the ultimate act of domestic violence.

During the sentencing hearing, family members of the victim lamented how they were blind to the warning signs of abuse — the control the defendant had over his wife, keeping her isolated and not allowing her to be her normal outgoing self.

Prosecutors told how former girlfriends of the defendant recounted acts of violence against them. One said the defendant came out of the shower, stark naked, grabbed a gun and pointed it at her head. She told how after they broke up, the defendant drove by her house repeatedly and made a gun sign with his hand, pointing at her like he was going to shoot.

Unfortunately, it appears, none of those incidents were ever reported. If they were, nothing was ever done.

Circuit Judge Jim Morrison told family members not to be too hard on themselves because, he said, sometimes experts are not able to see the signs of abuse.

As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” It’s easy to look back when you already know what happened.

This was the first domestic violence-related murder in Marinette County since 2012. That’s when Trish Waschbisch, the affable, strong-willed advocate of the Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Shelter in Marinette was murdered by her live-in boyfriend.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some of the statistics presented by the U.S. Department of Justice about domestic violence are staggering:

■ An estimated 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.

■ Every 9 seconds, a woman in the US. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other.

■ 1 in 4 men are victims in some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

Here’s another shocking statistic from the Huffington Post, the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 is 6,488. The number of women who were murdered by current or ex-male partners during that same timeframe is 11,766. That’s nearly double the number of people who were killed fighting in the war.

There are many reasons why people stay in an abusive relationship — self-esteem being destroyed, guilt, believing their partner will change and thinking they cannot leave among them.

The Office on Violence Against Women states that National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to educate ourselves about how to support friends or family members who are fighting to free themselves from abuse and unite to give a voice to those who suffer in silence.

The DV awareness month evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and was started by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.

The awareness day eventually became a week and in 1987, the US. Congress passed a law declaring October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, the three themes of the month are: Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived and connecting those who work to end violence.

Several officials from Rainbow House were at last week’s sentencing. They were accompanied by a handful of nursing students in training.

Courtney Olson, the shelter’s executive director, talked about the maximum sentence after the hearing. “… hopefully it will serve justice for future families that this doesn’t happen again in our county.”

We share that hope.