Northfield man found guilty of killing girlfriend for the third time

AKRON - Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh confirmed in a news release that a Summit County jury found Willard McCarley guilty in the 1992 murder of Charlene Puffenbarger.

According to Bevan Walsh, jurors found McCarley guilty of aggravated murder, a special felony.

According to the news release, McCarley beat, strangled, and suffocated 26-year-old Charlene Puffenbarger on Jan. 20, 1992. Puffenbarger had two toddler sons at the time of her murder, one of whom testified at two of the three trials.

Both boys were in the apartment at the time of the murder, Bevan Walsh said.

This was the third jury trial for McCarley on charges he killed Puffenbarger, according to the news release.

In both previous trials, in 2005 and 2007,  Summit County jurors found McCarley guilty of aggravated murder; however those verdicts were overturned upon appeal and McCarley was granted new trials, according to the news release.

Investigators originally arrested McCarley in 2004 following advances in DNA technology. Officers linked McCarley to the murder through DNA found on the leather belt used to strangle Puffenbarger, Bevan Walsh stated.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Joy Malek Oldfield is scheduled to sentence McCarley at 2 p.m. April 13.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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