Suspect in Teacher’s Murder was Convicted Stalker

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CANFIELD, Ohio --

An intense manhunt is underway for a Painesville man accused of shooting to death a teacher in Mahoning County.

Just after 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, 40-year-old Stacey Sutera was gunned down as she walked to her car at Carriage Hill apartment complex in Canfield, a suburb of Youngstown.

Police say the gunman is 64-year-old Robert McLaughlin, of Painesville. Investigators searched his home late in the afternoon.

"I believe it to be five shots. Shotgun, I'd say. 'Boom, boom,' three, then a momentary pause, and then two shots after that. So, I'd say there was a total of five shots," said neighbor Ken Goehring.

"When he shot her here, she backed out, and she hit my car, and then she put it in gear. I don't know how she did it, but she did, and she went over this grass and into three other cars, and that's when I went up there and she was dead," said neighbor Justine Moritz.

Stacey was a science teacher at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in Canfield. According to court records, she had known McLaughlin since 2000 and he began stalking her in 2010.

"Her car's been in the shop like five times from her door being keyed, and he had circulated some pornographic pictures," said Moritz.

Police say last year, they searched McLaughlin's Painesville home and found pictures of Stacey as well as pornography and dozens of guns. Stacey filed a lawsuit against him, claiming he was sending her pornographic emails and sending obscene fliers and letters to schools, government offices and other places around Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

December 2010, McLaughlin was sentenced to six months behind bars after he was convicted of stalking and harassing Stacey.

"I seen him down in here sitting, but I didn't know that it was him," Moritz said.
Neighbors say Stacey was always worried about her safety, and she took several measures to protect herself.

"She had expressed concern to all of us that she even has a video camera posted outside of her house when she walks out the door. She had all kinds of stuff installed because she was scared, she was very scared," Moritz said.

Canfield police say McLaughlin is 64 years old, 5'10", 190 pounds. They say he was driving a rented gray Chrysler Town and Country van. The license plate number is EZE 9055.

Anyone who spots Robert McLaughlin or his van is asked to call Canfield police at (330)533-4903, or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO. He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

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