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Man Imprisoned for Gunning down Wife Playing Organ During Church Service

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By Vincent Funaro, Christian Post Reporter
July 11, 2013|2:37 pm

A former elementary school music teacher received a life sentence this week for the murder of his ex-wife, whom he gunned down while she was playing the organ during a church service in Northern Pennsylvania last year.

Gregory Eldred, 53, of Coudersport, Pa. faced the possibility of receiving the death penalty for his crimes. However, by pleading guilty to first-degree murder, he ended up getting life in prison instead. The Potter County judge who sentenced him also deemed Eldred ineligible for parole this past Tuesday.

Eldred shot and killed his 53-year-old ex-wife Darlene Sitler during a service at First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport on Dec. 2 of last year. The church is located 140 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

State police claim Eldred shot her while she sat at the organ during church service. He left briefly and returned to fire another shot in order to assure himself that he had been successful in carrying out the murder.

He entered the church wearing a hooded jacket and "leveled a gun at the victim and shot," according to Pastor Evon Lloyd of the church.

Eldred worked as an elementary school music teacher in Coudersport Area School District since 1986. He also played clarinet for the Southern Tier Symphony Orchestra in nearby Allegany N.Y. His wife taught music at a neighboring district for around 30 years.

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He confessed to his crimes after the County Judge asked him if the details concerning his involvement in the shooting were accurate.

"Yes, your honor," he responded, according to the Bradford Era.

The couple divorced back in Aug. 2010. The motive for the shooting was never detailed by investigators. However, District Attorney Andy Watson provided a partial explanation during Wednesday's plea hearing claiming Eldred did so to conceal information his ex-wife possessed. He never revealed what the information was.

 

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