A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of his wife – five years after his now 29-year-old son discovered her skull in the backyard of his childhood home.
Michael Haim, 52, was convicted last month of second-degree murder. He will live out the rest of his life in prison for the gruesome slaying of his 23-year-old wife Bonnie Haim, who would have turned 50 years old on Monday.
His son, Aaron Fraser, helped implicate him in the murder after he moved back home in 2014 where he and his brother-in-law found the remains of his mother’s body.
Fraser was three years old when his mother disappeared.
After Judge Steven Whittington handed his father his sentence, Fraser said: ‘I honestly don’t feel that different than I did four years ago before I found her.’
‘I always believed he killed her and that justice needed to happen, but even today, when the judge said he’s going to have a life sentence, it wasn’t this great emotional feeling that I had,’ Fraser told First Coast News.
Michael Haim (pictured on Tuesday), 52, has been sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of his wife – five years after his son discovered her skull in the backyard of his childhood home
Haim (pictured, being escorted out of the court) was convicted last month of second-degree murder
Haim will live out the rest of his life in prison for the gruesome slaying of his 23-year-old wife Bonnie Haim (pictured with their son on her lap), who would have turned 50 years old on Monday
When he was three, Fraser tried to tell police that his ‘daddy hurt mommy’, but no one believed him and no physical evidence tied his father to the crime, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Even his mother’s family members did not believe him.
‘The credibility of a child is something that you have to judge in perspective,’ Robert Pasciuto, Bonnie’s father said in an 2010 episode of the true crime television series Unsolved Mysteries.
‘He’s said a couple of things that we know were not true. “Mom’s car is in the lake.” We know her car wasn’t there. No one has asked Aaron why did you say mom’s car is at the bottom of the lake,’ Pasciuto added.
After Judge Steven Whittington handed his father (right) his sentence, his son Aaron Fraser (left) said: ‘I honestly don’t feel that different than I did four years ago before I found her’
‘Aaron also stated that “Daddy shot Mommy,” “Daddy placed Mommy in timeout,”‘ and ‘My daddy could not wake her up,’ a 2015 arrest affidavit said.
A spent shell casing found where Bonnie was buried was the same type of caliber as a rifle that Michael owned, the affidavit added.
Aaron was adopted to another family and changed his last name to Fraser as Bonnie’s disappearance remained unsolved for two decades.
Years later, he won the deed to the childhood North Jacksonville home in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against his birth father.
On December 14, 2014, Fraser begun working with his brother-in-law to demolish the swimming pool in the home’s backyard and they made the grisly discovery.
Fraser helped implicate his father in the murder after he moved back home (scene pictured) in 2014 where he and his brother-in-law found the remains of his mother’s body
Police cordon off the area outside the North Jacksonville home where the remains of Bonnie Haim were found
Investigators would find a shell casing along with the bones that matched a rifle that was owned by Haim
The excavator they were using cracked a slab of concrete, and Fraser attempted to break it up further with a sledgehammer breaking a water pipe.
As Fraser and his brother-in-law looked for the pipe in the dirt, that’s when they came across plastic sheeting or a bag. Fraser broke it open with his shovel and reached inside.
He told News 4 Jax that he initially thought his mother’s skull was a ‘coconut’.
According to an arrest affidavit, Haim (pictured) was abusive to his wife and she had made plans to move into an apartment with their son while he was away on a trip
‘It looked like a coconut shell. I had it in my hand. We looked back in the hole and seen teeth,’ Fraser told police.
‘At that point in time, you could actually see the top of the eye socket. And it was like this part of the head, the top half of the head. I set it back in the hole,’ Fraser said.
Bonnie disappeared in January 1993. Her purse was found in a hotel trash bin, and her car was abandoned near the Jacksonville International Airport in Florida.
According to the arrest affidavit, Haim was abusive to his wife and she had made plans to move into an apartment with their son while he was away on a trip.
She had secretly opened a bank account and when Haim found out about it, he made her close it. She then started giving money to a trusted friend to hold for her.
The suspect claimed his wife left their home without their son late one night in January 1993 after they had an argument about their marital problems.
He also said he went searching for his wife, although he didn’t notify law enforcement about her disappearance.
Last week Fraser (pictured) said he ‘always knew my mom was buried’. ‘I just didn’t know where,’ he added
Bonnie (center, holding their son, Aaron) disappeared in January 1993. Her purse was found in a hotel trash bin, and her car was abandoned near the Jacksonville International Airport in Florida
At the time, Haim (left) told police that his wife of five years left the home after an argument about their marriage. He was arrested in 2015 after authorities confirmed that a skull found by their son, Aaron (right, at age three), belonged to Bonnie (right)
Law enforcement wasn’t told about the disappearance until a maintenance worker found her purse and called police.
Haim, who had since moved to North Carolina, was arrested in 2015 after authorities confirmed that the skull belonged to Bonnie.
DNA tests confirmed the remains were those of Bonnie and a medical examiner concluded she died from a homicide ‘by unspecified means,’ according to the affidavit.
Haim had initially been called a suspect in the case, but he was never charged.
‘Michael Haim was the last known individual to have contact with victim,’ the arrest affidavit said.
It added: ‘The suspect admits that he and the victim were fighting over marital issues and that she was planning to leave and take their child.’
At the time of the crime no one believed Fraser (pictured with his mother) and no physical evidence tied his father to the crime
Haim (pictured with Fraser) had maintained that he was not involved with his wife’s death. During his trial he even testified: ‘I love my wife, and I would’ve never hurt my wife’
Haim had maintained that he was not involved with his wife’s death.
During his trial he even testified: ‘I love my wife, and I would’ve never hurt my wife.’
Following the sentence on Tuesday, Bonnie’s sister, Liz Peak, told Action News Jax: ‘For 26 years, we wanted justice. And now we have it. We got justice. But we don’t have Bonnie.’
Last week Fraser told the station that he ‘always knew my mom was buried’.
‘I just didn’t know where,’ he added.
Sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder in 1993 suggested seven to 22 years in prison.
Bonnie’s family had asked the judge to consider giving Haim at least 26 years for the time she has been gone while he remained free.