Leclair Sentenced to Life for Wife's Murder, Ordered to Pay Costs of Funeral, Coast Guard Search
After an investigation that lasted several months, and a high-profile murder trial, the local man convicted of killing his wife and dumping her body in Lake Erie has been sentenced.
Christopher Leclair, 49, was sentenced Tuesday morning to life in prison without parole, plus and additional 3 to 17 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $4,400 dollars for his wife's funeral and $705,000 to the Coast Guard for the massive search for Karen in 2017 when she was reported missing.
The Elk Creek Township man was found guilty of first-degree murder in October.
Prosecutors say Leclair shot Karen in the head on the back of the commercial fishing boat they operated together. They say he then tied an anchor to the body and threw it in the lake. Police recovered the body off the shores of Western New York a few weeks later.
Leclair tried to convinced the jury his wife had killed herself because she was distraught over the prospect of a divorce. The jury came back with a guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberations.
Leclair's father Ernest, 75, is facing charges of tampering with evidence. Police say he tried to help hide the murder weapon for his son. The elder Leclair applied to be accepted into an ARD program, that could mean a lighter punishment. The District Attorney's office tells Erie News Now that case and Ernest Leclair's ARD application are still pending.