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January 1, 2013

Ellwood City man sentenced in fiancée’s death

NEW CASTLE — An Ellwood City man will spend up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to his fiancée’s death.

Keith Michael Wolfrey was sentenced by after pleading guilty to third-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in the May 2001 death of Joie Lordi.

Judge Dominick Motto ordered him to serve 10 to 20 years in jail.

In addition, after his release, the judge said, Wolfrey must undergo 10 years of supervised probation.

Wolfrey, 24, has been in the Lawrence County jail since being arrested by Ellwood City police for the slaying May 22, 2011. As a result, Motto gave him credit for 588 days served.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said that usually with “crimes of this severity” it is unlikely Wolfrey would be granted early parole. He said those convicted of crimes such as this usually serve 80 percent to 100 percent of their sentences.

Lamancusa noted family members of the victim agreed with the plea bargain reached by prosecutors and Wolfrey’s attorney, public defender Larry Keith.

In testimony presented at Wolfrey’s preliminary hearing in July 2001, Ellwood City officers said they were called to the couple’s home at 804 Pershing St. and found Wolfrey outside. Lordi’s body was found in the kitchen of the home, her face covered with duct tape.

An autopsy confirmed she had died of strangulation.

Under questioning by police at the time of his arrest, Wolfrey allegedly told officers he had no clear memory of what happened, but said he had covered Lordi’s face with duct tape so he wouldn’t have to look at her.

After doing so, he went to bed.

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