Third charged in death of Galion man

By Kim Gasuras - Galion Inquirer

Fredrick Saunders Jr.

Fredrick Saunders Jr.

Marla Saunders

Carla Willoughby

BUCYRUS – A third person has been charged in connection with the death of a Galion man and one of the defendants has been released and placed on strict house arrest.

Carla R. Willoughby, 36, Galion, has been charged with complicity to murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.

According to Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall, Willoughby was arraigned in Crawford County Common Pleas Court on Thursday and her bond was set at $2.5 million. Mansfield attorney Rolf Whitney is representing Willoughby.

Willoughby’s twin sister, Marla Saunders, and her husband Fredrick “Lee” Saunders Jr., 36, were arraigned last week on charges related to the death of Lee Saunders’ father, Fredrick Saunders Sr., 68, who authorities say died from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head, leading investigators to rule his death a homicide.

Lee Saunders is accused of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of his father on Sept. 29. He is also facing a charge of kidnapping, a first-degree felony, covering the period of Aug. 27 to Sept. 29, as well as tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree.

The younger Saunders’ wife, Marla, 36, is accused of complicity to commit murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, as well as tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, both third-degree felonies.

Lee Saunders is being held in the Crawford County Justice Center on a $5 million bond while Marla Saunders was being held on a $2.5 million bond until Judge Sean Leuthold released her on house arrest this week due to complications with a high-risk pregnancy of twin daughters.

Leuthold ordered that the $2.5 million bond on Marla Saunders remain in place while she is on furlough and that she will be equipped with an ankle bracelet containing a GPS unit that will be monitored by court staff, the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. She will have to stay at the house she shared with her husband and his father at 401 S. Union St, in Galion and is only permitted to leave to receive medical treatment in the cities of Galion, Marion and Columbus unless otherwise approved.

Officers from the Galion Police Department will also be checking on Marla Saunders to be periodically checking the Saunders’ house to guarantee she is following the guidelines of her furlough. She must also allow accessibility to her medical records by the authorities and is not allowed to have contact with her husband or sister.


Connect with Gasuras on Twitter @kimberlygasuras.

Fredrick Saunders Jr. Saunders Jr.

Marla Saunders Saunders

Carla Willoughby Willoughby

By Kim Gasuras

Galion Inquirer