It was a “domestic dispute gone horribly wrong,” Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs told a Bahamian courtroom during Donna Vasyli’s sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Still, the chief justice denied her defense attorneys’ pleas for probation — he sentenced the widow of Vionic Group Founder Phillip Vasyli to 20 years in prison.
Garvin Gaskin, acting director of public prosecutions in the Bahamas, told Footwear News Thursday that Donna Vasyli’s attorneys, Elliot Lockhart and Murrio Ducille, have expressed interest in appealing the sentence. Donna Vasyli’s legal team also has the option to appeal the conviction altogether, but either appeal has to be filed within 21 days, Gaskin said.
Phillip Vasyli, 59, was found stabbed to death on March 24 at the couple’s home in the upscale Old Fort Bay neighborhood in Nassau, Bahamas. Donna Vasyli was convicted of the crime on Oct. 1.
In March, Bahamian authorities told Footwear News that Donna Vasyli had been detained as a person of interest shortly after the discovery. She was charged with the murder on March 30 and was held at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services before being granted bail on July 31.
Donna Vasyli made several attempts to receive bail before the trial, which began on Sept. 10. According to Bahamian Court of Appeals records, her lawyers cited her ailing health, among other concerns, as grounds for bail.
As it stands, Donna Vasyli will have to serve the remaining 19 years and seven months of her sentence after deducting the five months she spent on remand, Gaskin said.
Australian podiatrist Phillip Vasyli founded Vasyli International in 1979, creating his first heat-moldable, pre-fabricated orthotic targeting the medical community. He later introduced the Orthaheel brand of after-market orthotics and footwear featuring the orthotic technology. Phillip Vasyli went on to launch Vasyli Medical, offering products designed to serve the medical footwear community.