Galion man gets 20 years in death of his father

BUCYRUS — A Galion man admitted Wednesday that he killed his father during a September, 2015 argument.

Frederick “Lee” Saunders, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of kidnapping in the death of his father, 68-year-old Frederick Saunders, Sr., on Sept. 30, 2015. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, said Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall.

The admission came during an evaluation hearing Wednesday in Crawford County Common Pleas Court.

“The charge was amended from aggravated murder to involuntary manslaughter, which is also a first-degree felony, because of the way he admitted it happened,” Crall said. “It was not premeditated.”

Saunders said his father was living with him and his family when an argument ensued between the father and son on that September evening.

The younger Saunders said he lost his temper, which led to fatal injuries to his father.

A tampering with evidence charge against the son was dismissed.

Crall said a hearing has not yet been scheduled for Saunders, Jr.’s wife, Marla K. Saunders, who is charged with complicity to murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

According to authorities, the father was taken by family members to the emergency room at Galion Hospital on the night of the incident. It was reported he had multiple injuries that were consistent with a beating. He was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

Preliminary results from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office indicated Saunders Sr. died as a result of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the skull.

Marla Saunders’ twin sister, Carla Willoughby, pleaded guilty to amended charges in December and is awaiting sentencing.

Frederick L. Saunders, Jr. L. Saunders, Jr.
Frederick ‘Lee’ Saunders sentenced to 20 years in prison

By Kimberly Gasuras


Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras