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Allen County Prosecutor's Office

Man gets 25-to-life in strangulation death of Lima woman

By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com

SOURCE:  Lima News

LIMA — A man with a criminal conviction history that Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge David Cheney called “as high as maybe I’ve ever seen” was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison for the 2016 strangulation death of Lima resident Kimberly Clark.

Leo Stapleton, 49, who authorities said previously lived in Lima but left for Indiana two years ago, was given a sentence that was the maximum allowable by law. Cheney was limited by state statute to handing Stapleton a sentence of 15 years to life on the murder charge, but an earlier ruling by the court that Stapleton was a repeat violent offender allowed the judge to add an additional 10 years to the sentence, in effect mandating the defendant serve as least 25 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Stapleton pleaded guilty to the murder charge, an unspecified felony, earlier this month — on the day his trial was to begin in a Lima courtroom. In doing so, he admitted causing the death of Clark, 40, whose body was found inside her apartment at 118 S. Metcalf Street Dec. 21, 2016. There were signs of foul play in the apartment that led police to label her death a homicide, authorities said shortly after Clark’s death.

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