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Leadmon pleads guilty to second-degree murder

One of two accused in September slaying of Karen Yeager

PARKERSBURG — The adult suspect in the September killing of a Parkersburg woman pleaded guilty Thursday to an information charging him with second-degree murder.

Michael Wayne Leadmon, 22, in custody without bond at the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County, entered the plea before Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane, Prosecutor Pat Lefebure said.

The second-degree murder charge carries a sentence of 10 to 40 years, with the precise number to be determined by the judge. Leadmon had faced a potential life sentence on the initial charge of murder.

The plea agreement is silent on the length of the sentence, but does require Leadmon to cooperate with authorities, Lefebure said.

Leadmon was arrested Sept. 4, two days after 68-year-old Karen Yeager’s body was found beneath the Fifth Street Bridge in Parkersburg. A 17-year-old boy was also arrested in connection with the murder.

Police were originally called to Yeager’s 3805 Broad St. residence on Sept. 1 for a missing person report. Blood was found inside, and Yeager’s 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander was missing, according to a criminal complaint.

Early the next day, Yeager’s vehicle was found with the 17-year-old behind the wheel. A second juvenile, who was a passenger, led police to Yeager’s body on First Avenue, beneath the Fifth Street Bridge in south Parkersburg.

Investigators said Yeager confronted Leadmon and the 17-year-old after they forced their way into her home. She was struck, knocked unconscious, choked and then fatally stabbed, police said.

Leadmon’s attorney, Joe Munoz, said his client “has accepted full responsibility for his actions on that tragic night.

“He has asked me to express his deepest and sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Yeager,” Munoz said.

Leadmon is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19.

Lefebure said he could not discuss the status of the juvenile’s case because of the boy’s age.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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