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City Man Sentenced To 30 Years For Murder

December 3rd, 2013 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County, the Honorable Michael O. Twigg, State’s Attorney, announced on Tuesday, December 3, 2103, that Stephen George Schleuniger of Cumberland, pled guilty to second degree murder in the death of Lisa Ann Simmons.  In exchange for the plea, the State will recommend a sentence of 30 years with 10 years suspended a sentence at the high end of the Maryland Sentencing Guildelines in this case.  Sentencing has been scheduled for January 14, 2014 before the Honorable W. Timothy Finan.

Ms. Simmons was reported missing in early September 2013.  An investigation revealed a crime scene in the home the two shared at 27 Browning Street, Cumberland, Maryland.  Schleuniger was arrested on September 10, 2013, charged with assaulting Simmons.  Located in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, were a pair of shoes later determined by the Maryland State Police Forensics Unit to contain the blood of Simmons, as did carpet and flooring samples taken from the home.  Despite not having recovered her body, in October the Grand Jury for Allegany County determined there was probable cause to charge Schleuniger with murder.  On November 25, 2013, as part of a plea agreement reached between the State and Schleuniger, he confessed to having killed her on September 5, 2013 at their home and then led investigators to her body, which was recovered in Winchester, Virginia buried in a remote location.


The plea agreement was driven by the recovery of the body of Ms. Simmons which would not have been possible without the assistance of the defendant and would also bring some closure for the victim’s family prior to the holidays.   While prosecution of the case without a body would not have been impossible, it would have presented challenges to ensure a conviction.  Furthermore, had the matter proceeded to trial Ms. Simmons’s body may have never been recovered. 


Finally, as part of the agreement, Mr. Schleuniger has agreed to speak with law enforcement from Washington County, Maryland, regarding the death of his prior girlfriend in 2010.  That cause of death of that case was ruled as undetermined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland and the investigation was closed by law enforcement.


The case was investigated by the C3I Unit, along with assistance from the Cumberland Police Department, Maryland State Police, Virginia Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Erich Bean.  James Elliott and James Malone of the Public Defender’s Office represented Schleuniger.


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