Saturday, May 11, 2002

Man pleads guilty to murder, rape last year

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A 31-year-old Hamilton man avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty Friday to charges of aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping.

        Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth immediately sentenced James R. Sedan Jr. to life in prison with parole eligibility after more than 26 years, said Joe Statzer, spokesman for the county prosecutor's office.

        Mr. Sedan was sentenced to five years in prison late last year on unrelated assault charges; the sentences will run consecutively, Mr. Statzer said.

        Mr. Sedan had been scheduled to go to trial Monday in the July 26 shooting death of Ronald Thennis, 20, and the rape of his girlfriend, who was then 17.

        The couple were from South Dakota and had been visiting the girl's relatives in Hamilton when they met with Mr. Sedan to socialize along the Great Miami River. Mr. Thennis' body was dumped in the river and was found after his girlfriend escaped and reported the crimes to police.


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