Man guilty in wife’s mur­der

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES -

ERIE, PA. (AP) >> A Penn­syl­va­nia man ac­cused of killing his wife and toss­ing her body into Lake Erie faces a manda­tory life sen­tence with­out pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role fol­low­ing his first-de­gree mur­der con­vic­tion.

Christo­pher Le­clair, who faces a manda­tory sen­tence of life in pri­son with­out pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role, was also con­victed Fri­day on other charges, in­clud­ing abuse of a corpse, ev­i­dence-tam­per­ing and false re­ports, af­ter ju­rors de­lib­er­ated for an hour and 40 min­utes, the Erie TimesNews re­ported .

Pros­e­cu­tors in Erie County said the Albion res­i­dent was hav­ing an af­fair and killed his 51-yearold wife, Karen, in the sum­mer of 2017 be­cause his girl­friend had given him an ul­ti­ma­tum to choose be­tween her and his wife.

Au­thor­i­ties said Le­clair, who will be sen­tenced Dec. 11, re­ported his wife miss­ing in June 2017, but dock sur­veil­lance im­ages showed the two leav­ing and him re­turn­ing alone, and he went out on the lake the next day and put out a distress call say­ing she had ap­par­ently fallen over­board.

Her body was found in July a few miles from Dunkirk, New York, which is about 50 miles (80 kilo­me­ters) north­east of Erie. Au­thor­i­ties say she had been shot in the head, tied up and she had an an­chor at­tached to her body.

De­fense at­tor­ney Bruce Sand­meyer ar­gued Fri­day that Karen Le­clair killed her­self be­cause she was up­set that her hus­band had been cheat­ing on her.

“This was a pe­riod of time where Karen Le­clair had had enough,” Sand­meyer said.

The de­fense con­ceded that Le­clair tied his wife’s body to the an­chor and dropped her into the lake, but Sand­meyer ar­gued that his client dumped the body be­cause he didn’t want any­one to know that his ac­tions had caused his wife to take her own life.

First As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney El­iz­a­beth Hirz called that con­tention “non­sense” in her clos­ing ar­gu­ment. The story was “an­other des­per­ate lie by the de­fen­dant, which was com­pletely in­con­sis­tent with any of the ev­i­dence that we had,” Hirz said af­ter the ver­dict.

Dawn Leom­bruno, Karen Le­clair’s niece, said af­ter the ver­dict that it was dif­fi­cult to hear sto­ries about Le­clair’s treat­ment of his wife, who she said “would do any­thing for any­body.”

“It doesn’t bring her back, but at least we know she’s get­ting jus­tice now,” said Leom­bruno, who lives in St. Peters­burg, Florida.

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