The Staten Island man who was accused of killing his wife last year—supposedly because she wouldn't pay to get cable TV in his hospital room—was found choking to death on a chicken bone in his home last month. Thomas Scala, 58, had pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of his wife, Blanche Scala, and was to be sentenced to five years' probation on July 24th. But Thomas was found choking on the chicken bone on July 12th, and died at Staten Island University Hospital on July 19th. "Karma is there somewhere," Blanche's sister, Gloria Sellitto, told SILive. "We're just glad that he's not around anymore... For a person like him, it was the perfect way to die."

The Scalas's son, Thomas Jr., agreed with his aunt's remarks. "He was never any good. He was just like a devil," he said. "My mother was a great lady, she raised us right." Thomas had been accused of beating his wife in a post-Thanksgiving fight on Nov. 26, 2010—at one point during the fight, Blanche packed her clothes in a shopping cart and said she was leaving, and Thomas responded by dousing the garments with rubbing alcohol and hairspray and lit them on fire.

Prosecutors later said the blow to her head "caused a pre-existing injury to bleed again, resulting in her death the next day." Thomas admitted to hitting his wife, but only received probation for the fatal incident. "This was a sad situation from any perspective you look at it," said defense lawyer Mark J. Fonte. "It's my understanding he choked on a chicken bone while alone in his premises. That is a difficult and lonely death."