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CRIME Man gets life in slaying of sisters



Published: Thu, February 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



After he killed them, he called 911 and said he wanted police to kill him.

AKRON (AP) -- A man pleaded guilty to killing his estranged girlfriend and her sister and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, avoiding a possible death sentence.

Joel Rhoten, 34, apologized Tuesday to the families of Katharine Kube, 42, of Stow, and Karen Mallory, 45, of North Royalton, who were killed in June.

"I was not in my right mind, and I hurt so bad, mentally and emotionally," Rhoten said in Summit County Common Pleas Court, where he was sentenced by a three-judge panel on two counts of aggravated murder.

Rhoten had lived with Kube, 42, and her son, T.J. Stevens, 9, for about six years until she broke off the relationship last April, according to court records. Rhoten then rented a room in the Cuyahoga Falls home owned by Kube's mother, who had died in early 2004.

What happened

On June 11, Rhoten lost his job and was at the home drinking when Kube, her son and sister arrived to prepare for an estate sale. As Mallory and Kube's son worked in the garage, Rhoten, who believed Kube was seeing someone else, confronted her in the kitchen and shot her in the head, police said.

He then went to the garage and shot Mallory in the head.

Rhoten called 911 and told the dispatcher he had killed some people, and that he wanted police to kill him, officials said. Rhoten fired at the two officers who came to the home, and officers fired back, wounding him in the leg, shoulder and chest.




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