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Isle-based soldier guilty of murdering wife's lover


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POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

A 28-year-old Ohio soldier who flew home from Schofield Barracks in 2005 to confront and kill his wife's lover has finally been convicted by a jury.

In July 2006, Shaun Cleland was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and kidnapping in the October 2005 strangulation of David Heinricht, 19, in Brunswick, Ohio.

However, an Ohio state appeals court allowed Cleland to withdraw his guilty pleas last year. The appeals court said the judge who had accepted the pleas didn't adequately explain Cleland's eligibility for parole on two lesser charges.

A new trial was ordered and a jury found him guilty last week.

Cleland planned Heinricht's murder in Hawaii, where the Army was training him as a paramedic to be returned for duty in Iraq. Police said Cleland flew home from Hawaii to confront Heinricht. Prosecutors said Cleland tried to make the strangulation look like suicide.

Heinricht was found dead with a rope around his neck, police said. Cleland was later taken into custody at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport as he prepared to board a plane to Hawaii.

Heinricht had been living with Cleland's wife in Brunswick, about 25 miles south of Cleveland, while Cleland was serving in Iraq and Hawaii. The Army said Cleland was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.