Cleveland man sentenced to life in prison without parole for stabbing, killing ex-girlfriend

CLEVELAND -- A Cleveland man found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend who had obtained a restraining order against him has been sentenced to life in prison.

Dale Peters, 65, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his ex-girlfriend, 65-year-old Laura Fruscella on Oct. 29, 2017.

Laura had been stabbed and cut in the neck and left in the front yard of a home on Montrose Avenue. Peters was arrested after an hours-long standoff.

Peters allegedly stabbed Fruscella after beating her.

During the sentencing Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula said the photos from the crime scene are some of the worst she has ever seen.

“This court for 42 years has looked at many awful photos,” Judge Sutula said. “None are as awful as what I saw in this case.” The judge then went on to say she would punish Peters to the harshest punishment possible.

Fruscella was Peters’ ex-girlfriend. She had a protection order out against him. According to court documents, Peters abused Fruscella both physically and emotionally over the course of their nine year relationship.

Fruscella first accused Peters of domestic violence in August 2017, but told police at that time that the abuse had been going on for years. She was reportedly too afraid to go to the authorities previously.

During Thursday's sentencing, Fruscella’s brother-in-law, who did not want to be identified, spoke on behalf of her family.

“Words cannot express the anguish and unimaginable pain our family endures on a daily basis,” he said. “Our family is forever broken. Laura was a mother, a daughter, eldest sister to six siblings, and friend to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

On Dec. 4, 2018, Peters was found guilty of murdering Fruscella by Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula. According to court documents, Peters waived his right to have a jury hear his case.

At the end of the sentencing Thursday Judge Sutula said she didn’t know why Peters chose to waive a right to a jury trial in this case, but that she was glad he did.

“In doing so, it spared 14 members of this community the horror of having to look at the photos of your handiwork,” Judge Sutula said.

Continuing coverage, here.

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