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Doctor Convicted of Killing Wife, Burying Her in Basement

June 29, 1990 GMT

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) _ A doctor was convicted Friday and sentenced to the maximum life in prison for killing his wife and buryig her under the house he planned to share with his girlfriend and children.

Dr. John Boyle Jr. blinked and frowned as the verdict was read in the crowded courtroom. About 50 people watching on a television monitor in a courthouse hallway cheered.

Judge James Henson of Richland County Common Pleas Court immediately imposed the sentence of life with no chance of parole for 20 years, and sheriff’s deputies escorted Boyle out of the courtroom.


The verdict came after a four-week trial and ended a murder mystery that had engrossed this north-central Ohio city for five months.

″This is actually a very simple case. It just got notoriety,″ Henson said. ″I’m glad it’s over. It’s been six months, and we haven’t had any semblance of civilization here.″

Prosecutors alleged Boyle killed his wife so he could end costly divorce proceedings and move into a house he had bought near Erie, Pa., with his girlfriend, Sherri Campbell.

The jury deliberated about nine hours over two days before finding the 47- year-old osteopath guilty of aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse.

Boyle also was fined $25,000 on the charge of aggravated murder and $2,500 on the charge of abuse of a corpse.

A defense attorney, Charles Robinson, said he expected Boyle to appeal.

Police said Boyle suffocated his 44-year-old wife, Noreen, on Dec. 31 in their Mansfield home, buried her in the basement floor of the newly-purchased house and sealed the grave with concrete. The body was dug up Jan. 25 during a police search of the house.

Boyle testified that he planned to have his 12-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter live with him in the house.

He said his relationship with his wife had been poor since their marriage began in 1968. He said Mrs. Boyle knew of his affair with Ms. Campbell, who on Jan. 12 gave birth to a child. Ms. Campbell filed a paternity suit against Boyle on Feb. 21.

Boyle testified that his wife left him on the morning of Dec. 31. He never reported her missing. She had left several times during their marriage but returned each time, he said.

Boyle’s son, Collier, testified against his father, saying that on Dec. 31 he heard his parents arguing, and a scream and a thump.


The investigation and trial had been the talk of this city of 50,000 people ever since Mrs. Boyle’s body was found. The courtroom was filled each day, and an overflow crowd watched the trial on a TV set in the hall. A television station replayed each day’s proceedings in their entirety.