Ohio man sentenced to life in prison after strangling girlfriend with belt in front of her kids

Ohio man sentenced to life in prison after strangling girlfriend with belt in front of her kids

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A Northfield man was sentenced to life in prison after strangling his girlfriend with a belt in front of her kids

A Summit County jury has found Willard McCarley guilty of aggravated murder in the 1992 death of Charlene Puffenbarger.

This was the third jury trial for McCarley on charges he killed Puffenbarger.

McCarley beat, strangled, and suffocated the 26-year-old Puffenbarger in January 1992. Puffenbarger had two toddler sons at the time of her murder, one of whom testified at two of the three trials. Both boys were in the apartment at the time of the murder.

In both previous trials -- 2005 and 2007 -- Summit County jurors found McCarley guilty of aggravated murder.

Those verdicts were overturned upon appeal, however, and McCarley was granted new trials.

Investigators originally arrested McCarley in 2004, following advances in DNA technology. Officers linked McCarley to the murder through DNA found on the leather belt used to strangle the victim.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 13.

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