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Published: Saturday, 11/2/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Extradition issue stalls 2012 murder case

Man accused of strangling wife in Toledo remains in Canada jail

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Katie and Kyle Sheppard of Toledo. Police say Kyle strangled Katie in their West Toledo home and fled to Canada. Katie and Kyle Sheppard of Toledo. Police say Kyle strangled Katie in their West Toledo home and fled to Canada.
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A year ago today, Katie Sheppard was found strangled in her West Toledo home.

While a warrant for her husband’s arrest was issued the next day, Kyle Sheppard, 30, remains in jail in his native Canada where he turned himself in to police Nov. 4, 2012, in Saguenay, Quebec.

The case is in legal limbo as Mr. Sheppard contests his extradition to the United States to face prosecution in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on murder charges for his wife’s death. Mrs. Sheppard, 29, was found on the front porch of the couple’s Rivard Road home, wrapped in a blanket, with a belt around her neck.

It’s a frustrating situation for prosecutors, who cannot proceed with the case until Mr. Sheppard is transferred to the United States.

“I would’ve expected it to move quicker than it has, but I’m not in any way faulting Canada,” said Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office. “We respect the Canadian justice system and the attention they are giving to the rights of their citizens.”

Daniel Brodsky, a Toronto-based defense attorney representing Mr. Sheppard in Canada, said his client is not receiving any special treatment because he has dual citizenship in Canada and the United States.

“He’s being treated as a fugitive and the fact that he’s a Canadian citizen makes no difference,” Mr. Brodsky said.

Still, he said, it’s unlikely he will be extradited anytime soon.

On Friday, Mr. Brodsky filed an appeal of a decision handed up by a Canadian court last month in which a judge found there was enough evidence to support a charge of murder against Mr. Sheppard and ordered that he be committed “into custody to await surrender to the United States of America.” The judge ordered Mr. Sheppard’s Jeep Patriot to be transferred to Toledo.

As part of his ruling, the judge found that statements Mr. Sheppard allegedly made to police upon his arrest were inadmissible in court because officers did not give him a reasonable opportunity to consult with a lawyer and failed to keep appropriate notes of their interview with him. Mr. Sheppard reportedly told officers he strangled his wife because he suspected she was cheating on him, court records show.

In his appeal, Mr. Brodsky contends Mr. Sheppard’s extradition should be halted until prosecutors in Lucas County complete their investigation, which includes examining Mr. Sheppard’s vehicle. He also argues that since the judge found his client’s statements inadmissible, that not enough evidence remains to support a charge of murder.

“What makes Kyle’s case unusual is that part of the case happens in Toledo, Ohio, but the most important part of the prosecution happens in Canada, and that’s the purported confessions,” Mr. Brodsky said. “… The unfortunate part is [police] bungled it.”

He said it could take 12 to 16 months for the appeal to be heard and decided. After that, the extradition request would go to the federal Minister of Justice, who would make a final ruling, although that too could be appealed, Mr. Brodsky said.

Mrs. Sheppard's father, Robert Walton, declined to comment.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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