Melanie McGuire, 34, was convicted of murder and desecrating human remains in the 2004 death of William McGuire, 39.
His body was found inside the couple's Kenneth Cole luggage in May 2004 in Virginia, nearly 300 miles from the couple's New Jersey apartment.
"The depravity of this murder simply shocks the conscience of this court," Judge Frederick DeVesa said Thursday.
In asking for the maximum penalty for McGuire, Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso underscored the nature of the crime, reported the New Brunswick News Tribune. "The victim's body was treated as trash, cut and sawed apart and then packaged in garbage bags enclosed in suitcases," she wrote, according to the paper.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that McGuire organized her husband's murder using her expertise as a nurse to drug him, shoot him and cut him up. They said she wanted to begin a new life with her lover — her boss at a fertility clinic.
The defense said McGuire had been abused by her husband and wanted to leave him. Her lawyers argued that the petite nurse was physically incapable of killing her 6-foot-3, 210-pound husband and that it would have been impossible to commit such a bloody crime without leaving behind physical evidence.
Stephen Turano said his client planned to appeal. "She maintains her innocence," he said.
McGuire, who cried Thursday as the sentence was read, had said in an earlier television interview that she did not kill her husband.
"No matter how I felt about my husband, I could not have done this to my sons," she said.