Pandemonium erupted in Thurston County Superior Court as the uncle of a slain woman, a mortician who prepared her body for burial, lunged at her husband before the husband was sentenced to prison.

Screaming arose Thursday when Douglas Ticknor stopped reading from a statement he was giving and rushed to the defense table where Jeramy Adam Lofstrom, was sitting in handcuffs.

Sheriff's deputies and bailiffs intervened before Ticknor could reach Lofstrom, 28, who was convicted of killing his wife and Ticknor's niece, Sarah G. Lofstrom, 25, on Jan. 1.

Investigators found she had been stabbed 24 times with a butcher knife as her two children, ages 6 and 3, were sleeping at the family's home in Rainier.

Judge Christine A. Pomeroy closed the courtroom, then resumed the proceedings with 12 deputies present and sentenced Lofstrom to 28 years and eight months in prison, the maximum under state guidelines, for first-degree murder.

He confessed immediately after the killing, saying he had been drinking and was upset because his wife had had a drug relapse and was to blame for the family's financial collapse — claims that were disputed by her family.

Ticknor entered the prosecutor's office in the courtroom after the uproar and then left the courthouse. He will not face criminal charges, said sheriff's Detective Steven Hamilton, one of the first to restrain the distraught man.

"As soon as I touched him, he was completely compliant and went limp in my arms," Hamilton said. "He was crying incessantly."

Pomeroy said she would take under advisement the question of whether to hold Ticknor in contempt of court.