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Grisly murder recalled in parole letter

WARREN — Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins wrote that convicted murderer Marie Poling confided to a friend she had “dreamt” about committing the “perfect murder.”

The prosecutor, in a letter to the Ohio Parole Board, said this “black widow needs to dream on her final days” in prison.

Poling, 60, is up for parole in December, and for the fifth time, Watkins has gone to the pen to oppose her plans for freedom.

“In my view the totality of the circumstances presented with evidence shows (first) a horrific crime with precision planning, execution and coverup and (second), an individual who wholly lacks a conscience and moral compass,” Watkins writes to Trayce Thalheimer, chair of the Ohio Parole Board in a letter dated Nov. 12. “She is not fit for society and will always be a threat to go into her “killer mode” against anyone who gets in her way in the future once unrestrained.”

Watkins was the lead prosecutor in the 1988 trial that saw Poling convicted of aggravated murder with firearm specification and abuse of a corpse. She was sentenced to 24 1/2 years to life, and so far has served 31 years and three months in the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville.

Watkins has opposed her parole in previous letters to the parole board dated Aug. 14, 1990, March 31, 2005, Jan. 27, 2010, and Nov. 19, 2014.

The trial before the late Common Pleas Judge Robert Nader focused on a love triangle, leading to the woman convincing her lover to cut off her husband’s head after she murdered him.

In January 1988, Poling was a 29-year-old mother of three when she shot her steel mill-working husband, Richard, as he slept on the couch. At the time, she was having an affair with Rafael Garcia Jr., who worked with her at a nursing home.

Testimony from the trial revealed Poling recruited Garcia and another woman to help her get rid of her husband’s body. Garcia rented an ax from the local Rent-a-Center, and they cut off his head in the basement of Poling’s Niles Road SE home.

They dumped the torso after driving off Interstate 79, west of Pittsburgh. Further south, they put the head in a plastic bag and threw it into a ravine.

Garcia was released from prison in 2001 after serving 13 years of a 5- to-25-year sentence after his conviction on aggravated burglary, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of justice charges.

Watkins wants no freedom for Poling, however.

“The only decent thing she did during her bloodlust was to get a baby sitter for her three children … Inmate Poling deserves NOTHING!” Watkins wrote.

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