Seated in a wheelchair, John Bunz pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter as part of a plea bargain in state Supreme Court in Buffalo, New York.
Bunz killed 89-year-old Virginia Bunz on March 21 in their retirement village apartment.
After his arrest he told police the two had been arguing “and I took a hammer to her”.
Judge Russell Buscaglia, speaking loudly into his microphone after it appeared Bunz could not hear, asked him if he hit his wife 30 times, as prosecutor Paul Bonanno said.
“Possibly, yes,” he responded.
Prosecutors agreed to the plea because of Bunz’s age but would still recommend a sentence of around 20 years because of the violence involved in Mrs. Bunz’s death.
Neither was in court.
John and Virginia Bunz married on April 4, 1942, in Buffalo. He is a retired chemist and technician.