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'Extreme Cruelty': Massachusetts Man Bashed Girlfriend’s Head, Killing Her on Her Favorite Maine Beach

Massachusetts Man Sentenced in Beating Death of His Girlfriend
Source: York County Jail; Unsplash

Jeffrey Buchannan will spend 40 years behind bars for the beating death of his girlfriend.

Mar. 28 2024, Published 3:04 p.m. ET

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A Massachusetts man bashed a woman’s head in, and now a judge in Maine has sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

The York Police Department received multiple 911 calls for a man assaulting a female behind a large rock on the beach at 3:54 p.m. on March 26, 2021.

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Police patrolmen identified Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, of Bedford, Massachusetts as the suspect in the assault upon arrival on Short Sands Beach. Police detained Buchannan and brought him to the department.

The woman was located behind a rock, and was later pronounced dead on the scene from an apparent bludgeoning. The victim was identified as Rhonda Pattelena, 35, of Bedford, Massachusetts.

The two were domestic partners and had one child together.

The Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit was called to assist York police with the investigation.

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Buchannan is said to have assaulted Pattelena “in a horrific public outburst of violence reported by multiple 911 calls from witnesses,” according to

An autopsy completed by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner determined Pattelena's death was a homicide caused by blunt force injury to the head, according to the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit.

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Maine State Police Detectives charged Jeffrey Buchannan with murder and he was taken to the York County Jail.

While Buchannan initially claimed he blacked out that day as his girlfriend was showing him her favorite place in the world, he ultimately pleaded guilty and waived a trial, officials said.

On March 27, a judge, who watched the surveillance video of the attack and called it "extreme cruelty," sentenced Buchannan to 40 years in prison, WMTW reported.

"I'm ashamed, terrified, and disappointed in what I did. I'm not asking for forgiveness because I can't and won't forgive myself. All I ask is that you guys keep Rhonda's memories alive," Buchannan said during his sentencing. "I wanted to apologize to Rhonda's family and friends. I'm sorry for taking a beautiful life away from you guys."


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