LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — A former Mentor Police officer accused of murdering his wife and storing her body in the garage of the couple’s home has admitted to her killing.
Lake County’s Prosecuting Attorney Charles E. Coulson tells Fox 8 News that Gary S. Stroud plead guilty in court on Monday afternoon to charges of murder and gross abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of his wife Diane Stroud.
Coulson says that Lake County Common Please Judge Joseph Gibson accepted Stroud’s written plea of guilt and scheduled a sentencing hearing on August 8, 2012.
Stroud faces 15-years to life in prison at sentencing, according to Coulson.
Stroud had been charged in a 12-count indictment in his wife’s murder, which according Coulson took place sometime between Oct. 9 and Nov. 27, 2011.
The body of Diane Stroud, 53, was found inside the garage of the family’s home at 5610 Marine Parkway on November 27, 2011.
The Lake County coroner says that Diane died due to blunt force trauma.
Diane had not been seen in six weeks prior to her being discovered in the garage by the couple’s adult daughter.
Stroud had told his adult children, one of whom lives in the home on Marine Parkway, that Diane packed up some of her belongings and left the state.
According to police, Diane’s body was so badly decomposed that authorities had to wait until dental or DNA records could confirm her identity.
An incident report obtained by Fox 8 News states that Diane’s body was found wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape. A plastic bag was found over Diane’s head, which was also wrapped in duct tape. The report indicates the body was stuffed into a sleeping bag.
Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap says Stroud is a retired Mentor Police Officer, who until September of 2011 worked part-time at the sheriff’s office. He mainly worked security in the courtroom, Dunlap said.