Final participant sentenced in 2015 Galion murder

GALION — A sentencing hearing for a Galion woman facing charges in connection with the death of Frederick Saunders Sr. was held on Monday in Crawford County Common Pleas Court.

Carla R. Willoughby, 37, changed her plea to guilty in December of 2015 in a plea agreement with prosecutors that included her intent to testify against her twin sister, Marla Saunders, and brother-in-law, Frederick Saunders Jr.

Judge Sean Leuthold sentenced Willoughby to five years of community control for tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, both third-degree felonies. She also must pay a $1,000 fine.

Leuthold credited Willoughby for coming forward with information about the death of Frederick Saunders Sr. and said that Willoughby may be eligible to be terminated early from probation.

It turns out Willoughby did not have to testify because the other two suspects in the case pleaded guilty before they went to trial.

Marla Saunders was sentenced to 59 months in prison in November for the role she played in the death of her father-in-law. She pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction and tampering with evidence in relation to the death of 68-year-old Frederick Saunders Sr. in September 2015. Charges of complicity to commit murder and kidnapping were dropped as part of her plea agreement with prosecutors.

Frederick “Lee” Saunders Jr. admitted in August to killing his father during a heated argument at the home the family shared on South Union Street. He pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of kidnapping in the death of his father. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Carla Willoughby Willoughby

By Kimberly Gasuras


Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras