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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Lima man gets 15 years

LIMA, Ohio - A Lima man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison by a Allen County Common Pleas Court judge for the 1999 death of his former girlfriend.

DeWayne Spears pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of burglary in the death of April Music, 27, in her home.

“He ended up with 15 years definite, as opposed to 15 years to life on the murder case,” the judge said.

Spears had been sentenced in Allen County Common Pleas Court in June, 2001, to 15 years to life in prison for strangling Miss Music. The jury found him not guilty of an aggravated robbery charge stemming from the death.

But the 3rd District Court of Appeals said the judge and the prosecution erred, overturned Spears' murder conviction, and ordered a new trial.

The appeals court also said the prosecutor introduced a police complaint against Spears filed by Miss Music and several instances of prior bad behavior that had “no direct connection to the events of the night in question or to the issue of whether Spears had killed Miss Music.”

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