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Published: Friday, 12/5/2008

Hardin County man pleads guilty to killing elderly woman


UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio A Hardin County man pleaded guilty Friday to killing an elderly woman in her rural Wharton, Ohio, home.

Terry Dale Shepherd, 40, pleaded guilty in Wyandot County Common Pleas Court to aggravated murder for the Sept. 28 death of Claradell Keller, 78, whose body was found burned in the aftermath of a fire at her home. Additional charges of aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, grand theft, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, and/or abuse of a corpse are to be dismissed at sentencing.

Also as part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, the state said it will recommend Shepherd be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole a sentence that is to be imposed consecutive to any sentence he receives in Hardin County where he is charged with two other murders.

Shepherd is to be in Hardin County Common Pleas Court Dec. 12 to answer to two charges of aggravated murder for the deaths of Judy Kearly, 56, and Deborah England, 52, who were last seen Oct. 12 in Kenton. Their remains were found the next day near an abandoned house near Roundhead, Ohio that had burned to the ground.

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