By ALLISON WOOD
The Post staff writer
The man convicted of killing his estranged wife's boyfriend by breaking into the man's Brunswick apartment will get a resentencing hearing due to a appeals court ruling.
Shaun Cleland, now 30, was convicted of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and kidnapping during a two-week jury trial in 2009. He is currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
On Dec. 30, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled that the case be sent back to county court for a resentencing hearing.
The court ruled that while the evidence showed Cleland was guilty, they were uncertain that he should have been separately sentenced on all counts. In many criminal cases, all counts are merged and the defendant is given one sentence.
County Prosecutor Dean Holman said the court must rule on this due to a 2010 case, State vs. Johnson, that said the court must consider the conduct of the accused when determining whether to merge sentences or not.
"It said there now has to be a hearing," Holman said. "We'll argue that separate sentences can be imposed."
Since the aggravated murder conviction stands, which has a mandatory life prison sentence, the hearing is basically a formality, he said.
In 2005, Cleland was stationed in Hawaii with the Army and separated from his wife Christina, who had moved in with her neighbor, David Heinricht and was in a relationship with him.
On Oct. 1, 2005, Cleland flew in from Hawaii, broke into Heinricht's apartment and strangled him. Christina was at work at the time and later discovered his body. While it was staged to look like a suicide, she believed Heinricht was killed.
Cleland was arrested a short time later while trying to board a return flight at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
The delay between the arrest and trial was so long because Cleland originally pleaded guilty to murder. He tried to change his plea, which the judge rejected. However, the appeals court ordered the case back to common pleas court for trial, where Cleland was convicted on all counts.
Cleland testified during his trial that a "masked man" kidnapped him the evening of the murder and said harm would come to Cleland's young niece if he did not cooperate.
He is incarcerated at Mansfield Correctional Institution.