LIMA — The case against a Lima man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend has been sent to Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Leo J. Stapleton, 48, made his second court appearance Wednesday in Lima Municipal Court. Stapleton waived his preliminary hearing, thereby sending the case to Common Pleas Court.
A grand jury will determine if there is sufficient evidence to indict Stapleton. Stapleton was being held in the Allen County Jail based on a complaint that he purposely caused the death of 40-year-old Kimberly Clark. Clark was found dead inside her apartment at 118 S. Metcalf St. on Dec. 20.
A grand jury will determine whether to charge Stapleton with one count of murder, which carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison, a $15,000 fine and five years of post-release control.
At Wednesday’s court hearing, Magistrate Richard Warren continued Stapleton’s $1 million bond.
On the evening Clark was found dead, police officials said they found signs of foul play, which led them to believe her death was a homicide. Officers located Stapleton and, after speaking with him, took him into custody in Clark’s death. Lima Police Department Detective Steve Stechschulte said Clark was strangled.
The recent incident was not the first involving the couple. Stapleton was charged with domestic violence and intoxication in a Nov. 2 incident Stechschulte said involved the two. Lima Municipal Court records show the case was dismissed after Clark failed to appear to pursue the case against Stapleton.
Clark’s body was sent to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy. Stechschulte said the autopsy will determine how long Clark had been dead.
Stapleton had lived in Indiana until about a year ago and has a criminal record in that state. He lived in Lima nearly 20 years ago but left for Indiana, Stechschulte said.
Indiana prison records showed Stapleton served sentences out of Fort Wayne for rape, resisting law enforcement, possession of paraphernalia, criminal recklessness, carrying a gun without a license and mischief. He spent the majority of the last 20 years locked up in prison, according to records.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima