Plumadore To Be Locked Up For Life: Prosecutor Explains Plea Offer

By Scott Sarvay
By Mary Collins
By Eric Clabaugh
By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2012 Updated Jun 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind., (Indiana's NewsCenter) - "We needed finality, so he could never hurt anyone again."

Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards made that comment Monday, as child murderer Michael Plumadore was sentenced to life without parole for killing Aliahna Lemmon.

The 39-year old Plumadore showed no emotion, telling the family during the hearing, "There are no words to express my sorrow for what I've done. I don't expect anyone to forgive me, but I hope one day there can be healing."

Plumadore pleaded guilty last month to life in prison without possibility of parole, avoiding the risk of the death penalty for the murder and dismemberment crime.

Plumadore was babysitting the little girl and her two younger siblings around Christmas 2011.

When Aliahna turned up missing, an all-out search commenced.

But a few days later, Plumadore came clean, saying he'd bludgeoned the girl with a brick, and cut up her body, storing some of the parts in his mobile home freezer.

Richards says she offered a plea, because that's what the victim’s family wanted.

Karen Richards/(R) Allen Co. Prosecutor: " Normally, a death penalty case takes between 13 and 16 years to complete, and at every appeal, it's almost like opening up a wound again, and I just don't think they could handle that."

Tony Churchward/Defense Attorney: " Anytime you have a case where the death penalty is a possibility, your goal, as a defense attorney, should be and must be saving your client's life."

Aliahna Lemmon’s mother attended the hearing, but did not address the court.

A relative did speak, chastising Plumadore.

Elizabeth Sepponen testified, “Your villainous and vile act has put our entire family under a microscope.”

She also said Aliahna’s mother will forever be judged because of the crime, referring to the fact she believes some in the community hold her partly responsible for turning over her kids to Plumadore, which gave him an opportunity to carry out the murder.

Lindsey Brown with an advocacy group called “Wings of Innocence”, said she is not pleased with the life without parole plea.

She says Aliahna Lemmon never had a fighting chance against a grown man, and that Plumadore doesn’t deserve to breathe anymore.

Besides murder, Plumadore also pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse and moving a body from the scene of a crime.

Judge John Surbeck not only endorsed the life without parole agreement, but he tacked on 36 additional years to the sentence, recognizing Plumadore as a habitual offender.

Surbeck called the crime, “The worst of the worst”.

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