Burbank resident Joseph Robert Brancato, who at one point was charged with murder after allegedly inflicting a deadly blow to his wife's head with a chair leg, was sentenced to two years in state prison this week.   

Murder charges were dropped in December against Brancato, 71, after Los Angeles County coroner's officials determined that his wife, Marie Brancato, 65, was not the victim of a homicide, but instead died of a liver disease.

Still, her husband pleaded no contest to assault in December, according to the county district attorney's office.

Deputy District Atty. Norman Hearon of the Family Violence Division said that after Joseph Brancato entered the plea, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. ordered a diagnostic evaluation prior to sentencing.

Hearon declined to comment further.

Authorities said Marie Brancato died at home in Burbank on July 5 after being struck on the head with a wooden chair leg. Joseph Brancato was arrested a short time later.

Joseph Brancato — who has remained in custody since July 6 — has a history of domestic violence. He was convicted of spousal abuse in December 1989, September 2002 and December 2010, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. In June 1997, he was charged with spousal abuse but convicted on battery charges.