Saturday, October 11, 2003

Man gets life term in pizza driver's murder



The Associated Press

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio - A man convicted a second time in the kidnapping and murder of a pizza delivery driver after his earlier guilty pleas and prison sentence were overturned has been spared the death penalty.

A Fayette County Common Pleas Court jury on Thursday recommended a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years for Matthew McCullough.

Judge Victor Pontious agreed with the jury and added a 28-year sentence, to be served consecutively, meaning McCullough will be eligible for parole in 58 years.

McCullough was convicted Monday on three counts of aggravated murder - each with death penalty specifications - murder, kidnapping, attempted rape and aggravated robbery.

The body of Precious Canter, 31, was found in June 2000 in an alley behind a school in this city 40 miles southwest of Columbus.

The pizza parlor where she worked reported her missing when she failed to return from a delivery.

McCullough, 23, of Washington Court House, had pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery in September 2001 and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. He was 19 when Canter was killed.

The 12th Ohio District Court of Appeals overturned that conviction in November, saying Pontious did not adequately inform McCullough of his rights.

Three juveniles arrested along with McCullough were sentenced on lesser charges.




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