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Three guilty pleas for area cases involving homicide-related charges

Three defendants in unrelated cases pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clearfield County Court.

Kayce M. Lee, 32, Mahaffey, was sentenced by Judge Paul E. Cherry to 20 to 40 years in state prison for third-degree murder. Lee stabbed her boyfriend, Richard A. Bennett, 58 as they fought at their home in February, police say.

Clothed in only a white thermal shirt and briefs, he ran out the door in the early morning hours and did not return. Lee later reported him missing, but police were able to locate him lying dead just 30 feet from the residence. She claimed that even though she had left the house a few times, she did not see him there.

Homicide by vehicle

Rhonda P. Maines, 20, Morrisdale, pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle in connection with the death of Boyd Shirey, 77, in August 2017. The vehicle driven by Maines reportedly struck Shirey, who was attempting to remove a dead deer from Deer Creek Road in Graham Township around 9:00 p.m., and then she fled the scene.

Later, she told police she thought she had hit a deer, but eventually realized it was a man. According to previous reports, the county coroner said that the accident was “near the part of the roadway where there is a hill that is difficult to see over.”

It was noted that the problem in this case is that she left the scene of the accident. Cherry sentenced her to 11½ months to two years less one day in the county jail as well as a three-year period of consecutive probation.

Aggravated assault and strangulation

Leslie Wayne Conklin, 62, also of Morrisdale, had been charged by state police with criminal attempt-homicide after he fired two shots at his stepson at their home on March 13 following an argument and physical altercation.

Conklin pleaded guilty Tuesday to the lesser charges of aggravated assault and strangulation. Cherry gave him a sentence of 279 days, which is time served, to two years in the county jail followed by four years’ probation.