Michael L. Plumadore, who pleaded guilty in May to the murder of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon, was sentenced Monday to life plus 36 years for the crime.
Plumadore, who was a family friend baby-sitting Lemmon and her sisters, was charged with murder, as well as abuse of a corpse and removing a body from the scene of a suspicious death, all felonies. He was also deemed a habitual offender based on two prior convictions, one for a theft in Florida more than a decade ago and a forgery conviction in Allen County from 2007.
The sentence included a provision that if legislation ever eliminates life imprisonment as a possible sentence, Plumadore's sentence will become 65 years plus 36 years, or 101 years.
Plumadore had allegedly told police that on the night of Dec. 22; he killed Lemmon on the front step of his mobile home by hitting her on the head repeatedly with a brick, according to court documents.
He affirmed that in court last month, stating for the record that he used a hacksaw to dismember the girl before storing parts of her in a freezer and disposing of other parts in a trash dumpster at a gas station near his trailer in the 9400 block of North Clinton Street, near Diebold Road.
Plumadore only admitted to the facts of the case as they pertained to the charges filed against him. Plumadore, according to previous interviews of people who lived in the trailer park where the girl was killed, had worked for Aliahna's grandfather, Jimmy Lemmon, a registered sex offender who had emphysema and also lived in the mobile home park. Plumadore took care of him and in return lived in the trailer.
Jimmy Lemmon died Dec. 3, and Plumadore continued to live in his home.
Plumadore had been looking after Aliahna, and her sister and stepsister, both 6 years old at the time, because Souders was ill with the flu.
Lemmon was reported missing around 8:45 p.m. Dec. 23, prompting a massive search by numerous law enforcement agencies. Plumadore, after being questioned multiple times, reportedly confessed to killing the girl on Dec. 26, telling investigators where Lemmon's remains could be found.
During his sentencing Monday Elizabeth Sepponen, a cousin of Aliahna's mother, addressed Plumadore for the family.
In a voice which trembled with emotion, she told Plumadore his “villainous vile act” had a huge impact on their family and the community. His actions have put their family under a lens of community scrutiny and not a holiday will go by without the memory of Aliahna or his name coming up.
Sepponen said the family is struggling with how to deal with the loss and every time Aliahna's mother ventures into the community she now has to deal with what people are thinking about her as well. His actions, Sepponen said, have created a rift in the community that she hopes will some day heal.
“ God can forgive you for that, but personally, I will really have to work on that,” Sepponen said.
In a brief statement Plumadore apologized to the family and community for his actions.
Both the defense and the prosecution stuck to asking for the sentence in the plea agreement.
Judge John Surbeck said the death penalty would have been justified in this case because abuse of a corpse was involved, but was willing to go along with the plea agreement for life imprisonment without parole plus 36 years because it was what the family wanted.
Surbeck told the court that sometimes when a death penalty is sought the case could be overturned in court. The prosecution and Surbeck both said they wanted to spare the family that possibly as well as make sure both the family and the community are served by having a dangerous criminal off the street for life.
“This case is the worst of the worse,” Surbeck told the court.
After the sentencing, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said going for the death penalty in a case like this could take as long as 15 years with repeated appearances in court. Every time the family appears in court it reopens the wound of their loss.
To insure that Plumadore never is released from prison, even should legislation be passed abolishing the life sentence without parole, Plumadore's sentence would then be changed to 65 years plus another 36 to be served consecutively, ensuring he would have a sentence of 101 years.
Aliahna's family preferred not to comment to the media about the sentencing after the hearing.