Thirty-three-year-old Carlos Ovalle, from Takoma Park, Md., was sentenced Tuesday.
He had been convicted in July on numerous charges, including first-degree attempted murder.
Police say on Dec. 21, Ovalle broke into his estranged girlfriend's home, jumped out of a closet when she came home, and tried to stab and strangle her. Ovalle hit the woman at least 20 times with the crucifix, taken from an apartment wall.
A Takoma Park police officer burst in and shot Ovalle twice. Authorities say one bullet passed through his chest and hit the woman's arm. She survived the attack.
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