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Jury recommends life in prison without parole in slaying of 87-year-old Ohio woman


HAMILTON, Ohio — Jurors have recommended life in prison with no chance of parole for a Kentucky man convicted of killing 87-year-old Ohio woman and leaving her body in the trunk of her car.

The same jury that found 57-year-old Daniel French of Berea, Kentucky, guilty of aggravated murder heard arguments this week for and against execution in the penalty phase of French's trial.

French was convicted of aggravated murder in the 2012 slaying of Barbara Howe.

Prosecutors say French cut Howe's throat after gaining entry by posing as a maintenance worker in her Monroe retirement community. The defense insisted French had no plan to kill her.

French, who suffers from mental health issues stemming from an abusive childhood, was determined to have been sane at the time of the murder by a defense psychologist.

French told jurors he was filled "with great remorse and sorrow" for killing the woman.

"What I did was awful and sitting through this trial has been awful for the Howe family," French said. "I made a fateful decision that is out of character of me that has haunted me to this day."

"We will just have to remember the good memories of Barbara," said Patricia Marshall, Howe's 85-year-old sister.

French initially offered to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole, but Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser chose to take the case to trial.

A Butler County judge will officially sentence French on Nov. 16.

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