John Howard Hunt, 67, a resident of Julian, Calif., was driving up the California coast with his wife on May 4 when she told him that she wanted to end their marriage, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
The next morning, while driving on state Highway 1 north of Half Moon Bay, Hunt pulled their car onto a dead end street and told his wife to get out of the vehicle, Wagstaffe said.
When she did, he gave her a hug and then allegedly grabbed her head and repeatedly banged it against the car, causing major head lacerations, Wagstaffe said.
He then threw her down on the ground and tried to strangle her with his belt, threw her back in the car, hit her with a metal water bottle and drove away with her legs hanging out of the car door. When she came out of the car, witnesses came to assist her, Wagstaffe said.
Hunt then parked his car and sat there until sheriff's deputies arrived and arrested him. His wife still had his belt around her neck, Wagstaffe said.
Hunt pleaded no contest on Thursday to one count of attempted murder and causing great bodily injury and committing a violent felony in an act of domestic violence, Wagstaffe said.
He was sentenced to 12 years in state prison with 272 days credit for time served.