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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2007

2 men who hid body receive probation, time for treatment


Two Toledo men who admitted dropping a friend's dead body through a trap door into a basement were sentenced yesterday to probation that includes time in a drug and alcohol treatment center.

James Marciniak, 47, and Jeffrey Kittle, 48, were each sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to four years of probation, including six months in the Community Treatment Facility. The two men pleaded no contest April 16 to one count each of abuse of corpse.

The charges stem from the death of Frank Bires, 52, of Oregon, who was found Jan. 9 in the basement of a house on Platt Street. Authorities said his body was found two weeks after he died.

Mr. Bires' death of a combined drug overdose was ruled a homicide. Nora Eckenrode, 42, of 630 Platt St., was accused of preparing heroin and injecting Mr. Bires with it, and pleaded no contest April 9 to involuntary manslaughter and possession of heroin. Eckenrode will be sentenced May 16.

Kittle and Marciniak had been in jail since January.

Yesterday, Kittle's attorney, Joseph Salmon, said his client had a very serious drug and alcohol problem and would be better served out of jail and in a treatment program. Kittle, of 334 Van Buren Ave., said he blacked out on the night Mr. Bires died and got scared.

"He was friends with Mr. Bires. I think this has been a real shock to him," Mr. Salmon said. "It appears it may be the catalyst he needs to address his drug and alcohol problem."

Similarly, George Gerken, who represents Marciniak, said his client abuses alcohol but that when sober, he is employable as a skilled tradesman.

Marciniak told Judge Stacy Cook that he doesn't have a drug problem but admitted to alcoholism. Although court records list his address as 5936 Villamar Rd., family members said Marciniak no longer lives there. Yesterday, Marciniak told the judge that he was in the process of buying a house when he was arrested.

He then took responsibility for what happened inside the Platt Street house, where he had been staying, the day Mr. Bires died.

"I'm sorry I let that stuff happen inside the house," he said.

Authorities said that after being injected with the heroin, Mr. Bires convulsed and stopped breathing. Records indicate that Mr. Bires had several drugs in his system at the time.

Judge Cook told both men that they needed to get their substance abuse problems under control and that if they violated terms of their probation, each would face an 11-month prison sentence.

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