Last updated: August 23. 2013 6:59PM - 445 Views

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KENTON — A 19-year-old admitted Monday to killing her mother with a shotgun four years ago but never gave an answer as to why.

That answer may never be known.

Meredith Poling’s attorney, Bill Kluge, said he never established why his client, then 15, shot her mother, Michelle Murnahan, in the head Aug. 31, 2006, inside their Mount Victory home.

“They had the usual mother teenage daughter issues but nothing beyond that,” Kluge said.

Poling admitted to the crime of murder in Hardin County Juvenile Court, the equivalent of a guilty plea as an adult. She was sentenced to a prison for children until her 21st birthday which is Feb. 17, 2012. After that, she is free of sanctions for the crime for which she has remained in jail since she was charged in May 2007. Poling also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service while in prison.

After the hearing, Hardin County Prosecutor Brad Bailey said the outcome was the best he could do given a judge’s ruling to keep the case in juvenile court.

“Of course I’m disappointed. It sort of puts the price of a human life as a year and a half. I believe the penalty should have been more severe,” he said.

Bailey originally attempted to have Poling tried as an adult where she could have faced life in prison but Judge James Rapp, of Hardin County Juvenile Court, who later stepped aside from the case, ruled it was possible Poling could be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system.

Bailey unsuccessfully appealed that ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Bailey, too, didn’t have a definite answer to the biggest question: Why?

“I think it’s the way she’s made up and some of her background and the way she thinks. For lack of a better tune, I think she may be a sociopath,” he said.

Poling’s only motive was her mother said no to a request she made earlier in the day, he said.

“She was asking for a favor and the mother said, ‘No, you’re not going to the fair,’” Bailey said.

Poling declined to make a statement.

Kluge said the ending of the case with a trial looming next month was a good outcome that will give closure to the victim’s family.

“One of the big concerns Meredith had was to not put her family through this and finally face up to it and admit what she had done,” Kluge said.

Kluge, however, said there were no winners.

“It’s not a victory for anybody. We still have a dead person with grieving relatives and we have a young girl whose life was ruined by her own conduct,” he said.

Poling became a suspect in the hours that followed the shooting. The first tip was she told several versions of how she became aware of her mother’s shooting, saying she was inside and didn’t hear it, then outside, and later blaming it on someone from the Kenton Coon Dog Trials, Bailey said.

In the months that followed the murder, one of Poling’s friends came forward to tell investigators Poling told her she wanted to kill her mother before the murder and described a plan that matched the way the murder was carried out, Bailey said.

“Meredith had this planned out and had discussed exactly how this was going to happen,” Bailey said.

Bailey said Poling executed her mother by sneaking up behind her with a 12-gauge shotgun, placing it against her mother’s head and pulling the trigger. Poling then took steps to cover up the crime by wiping down the shotgun, putting it away with numerous other guns her mother and stepfather had in the house and picking up the shell casing.

The shooting followed an argument Poling had with her mother earlier in the day when her mother saw Poling in the streets instead of at the library where she was to perform community service for another juvenile court case, Bailey said.

Murnahan lost her cool and used profanity before taking her daughter home. A short time later, Poling carried out her plan to kill her mother, Bailey said.

Despite the horrific crime, Kluge said he expects Poling will make something of her life. She has earned her high school diploma and has started taking college classes while locked up. She has told Kluge she would like to counsel children.

While Poling is expected to go on to college and have the chance to make something of her life, Kluge said the murder conviction, even as a juvenile, will follow her for the rest of her life. It cannot be expunged and she likely will have to list it as a felony conviction, if asked, on job applications.

Hardin teen admits to killing mother

Hardin teen admits to killing mother

Hardin teen admits to killing mother
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