Sentencing in 2014 Murder Case
Reno Man Sentenced to Life for Killing His Wife

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)

The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office announces that a Reno man has been sentenced to life for the stabbing death of his 54 year old wife.  The stabbing occurred in the couple’s South Reno apartment in November, 2014.  The sentence ensures that the defendant will serve a minimum of 28 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Daniel Lee Pancake, 80, from Reno was sentenced this morning in Washoe County District Court on one count of First Degree Murder with the Use of a Deadly Weapon after having pled guilty in September of this year.

The case against Pancake began on November 18, 2014 when the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to a report of a domestic dispute.  The reporting party was the couple’s 11 year old son and when officers arrived they found Pancake outside his apartment covered in blood. RPD Officers then entered the apartment and located Pancake’s wife deceased in an upstairs bedroom. The RPD Robbery Homicide Unit investigated the case and Pancake was arrested and subsequently charged by this Office with Open Murder.

At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Amos Stege introduced evidence of a prior domestic battery conviction involving the same victim, where she was strangled to unconsciousness.  Stege also highlighted that, before the murder, the defendant made statements to his psychologist that he wanted to kill his wife and one to a co-worker on the day of the murder, saying “I’m going to kill my wife.”  The 911 call from the victim’s son was also played.   In the call, the child describes, in real time, the murder of his mother.  Finally, a recorded jail call was played in which the defendant claimed that, “I believe God wanted me to take her out of [the son’s] life.  I really do believe that.  The holy spirit was working on that.”

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