NEW PHILDELPHIA - An Akron woman who dumped her friend's body after a fatal overdose will be sentenced Aug. 23 for gross abuse of a corpse, failure to report a death and three counts of evidence tampering.
Cekoyia M. Riechers, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Michael Ernest, who then found her guilty of all charges related to events that followed the death of Amber L. Sherrell.
Assistant county prosecutor Scott Deedrick recommended a three-year prison sentence as part of the plea agreement negotiated with Riechers and her lawyers.
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Ernest ordered a criminal background investigation to be conducted before sentencing.
He explained the possible penalties for each charge. The most serious charges, evidence tampering, each carry a potential prison sentence of nine to 36 months and a $10,000 fine; prison is not mandatory. Abuse of a corpse carries a potential punishment of six to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. Failure to report a death carries a potential punishment of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
One evidence tampering charge alleges Riechers cleaned a dolly with bleach and water on or about Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Another alleges she disposed of cleaning items and Sherrell's personal items between Oct. 23 and 26.
The corpse abuse charge says that between Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, Riechers treated Sherrell's body in a way that would outrage community sensibilities. The same time frame is specified in the charge of failure to report knowledge of a death.
Riechers and codefendant Daniel J. Fitzgerald allegedly put Sherrell's body along White Bridge Road in Goshen Township in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, three days after she died from an overdose.
Sheriff's Detective Lt. Adam Fisher said Sherrell died while in the company of Riechers at Riechers' home at 39 S. Johnson Ave. in Dover. Riechers called Fitzgerald, her boyfriend, as the overdose was occurring, according to Fisher. Fitzgerald drove to Riechers' house in Dover to help her deal with the body, Fisher said.
Riechers is free on her own recognizance.
Fitzgerald, 38, is listed in court records as being a state prison inmate in Youngstown. The former Akron resident has pleaded not guilty on two counts of tampering with evidence, one count of gross abuse of a corpse and one count of failure to report knowledge of a death.
Fitzgerald is scheduled to have a final pretrial hearing Aug. 9 and a jury trial Aug. 17.
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Reach Nancy at 330-364-8402 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @nmolnarTR
This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Cekoyia M. Reichers pleads guilty to all charges in body dumping case