TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Hempfield man gets life in prison for killing girlfriend during fight over spilled noodles

Keith Kruel

Daily Photo Galleries

Westmoreland Photo Galleries

Friday, May 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Keith Kruel had nothing to say in court Thursday as he was sentenced to serve life in prison for killing his live-in girlfriend as they fought over a bowl of spilled noodles.

Following a week-long jury trial in February, Kruel, 39, was convicted of first-degree murder for the Nov. 13, 2011, beating and stomping death of 40-year-old Tina Marie Ohler.

Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec imposed the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

During the trial, prosecutors said Ohler had been in a nine-year abusive relationship with Kruel.

On the night of the murder, they returned to their Hempfield home from a night of drinking in bars. The couple fought over a bowl of Ramen noodles that Ohler threw to the floor when Kruel refused to eat them, according to the prosecution.

Kruel first told police he found Ohler dead when he awoke the next morning, but he later confessed to slamming her head off a wall or door jamb, kicking her head “like a football” and stomping on her back, according to trial testimony.

The defense admitted that Kruel killed Ohler but argued that her death resulted from a reckless act and warranted conviction to a lesser offense, such as involuntary manslaughter.

In court on Thursday, Jennifer Gearhart, victim advocate for Westmoreland County, read a letter from Ohler's 13-year-old daughter, Courtney.

“My whole family's lives are shattered. Not a day goes by I don't think about her,” the girl wrote. “No one should be 13 and have to go through this. I miss her every day and every night. Just because he's serving time in prison doesn't take away the pain we feel.”

Kruel will appeal his conviction, said defense attorney L.A. Smith.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Residents warned after incidents with bottles rigged to explode on Jeannette streets
  2. Fire marshal probes cause of blaze that destroyed vacant Derry Township house
  3. Latrobe ear-biting suspect loses bid for reduced bail
  4. Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity
  5. Youngwood aims to reduce amount that ends up in sewage treatment facility
  6. Forbes: Night at the Races planned at sportsmen’s club
  7. Donora-Monessen bridge ramps to stay open during construction
  8. Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
  9. Westmoreland County tourism grants promote banana splits, breweries, trolley, railroad
  10. Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
  11. Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs