Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Arguments - Robbery - Arson
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: April 2, 2002
Date of birth: December 18, 1959
Victims profile: His former sister-in-law, Kathleen Cordell, 40, and neighbors Frank Carnevale, 72, and Carnevale's ex-wife, Rita Bushman, 68
Method of murder: Strangulation - Shooting
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 81 years to life in prison on October 1, 2002

An Ohio man accused of shooting to death two next-door neighbors and setting fire to their house to cover up the killings is now also suspected in the death of his former sister-in-law.

Robert Cordell, 43, was arraigned on aggravated murder and aggravated arson charges and held on $2 million bond. His alleged victims, Mayor Frank Carnevale, 72, and his ex-wife Rita Bushman, 68, were both shot several times in the head. Their bodies were found by firefighters responding to a basement fire at the couple's home in Reading, a Cincinnati suburb.

Police said they also suspected Cordell with the death of his former sister-in-law, Kathleen Cordell, 40, but added they were awaiting autopsy results before filing charges. "He'll definitely be charged in that case if the cause of death is found to be other than natural, which we believe it is," Lt. Scott Snow said. Kathleen Cordell's body was found in the home she shared with Cordell after he was questioned by police in the slayings of his neighbors.


Reading man will face death penalty

The Enquirer

April 13, 2002

A Reading man faces the death penalty if convicted of strangling his former sister-in-law and fatally shooting two neighbors, prosecutors said Friday.

A Hamilton County grand jury on Friday indicted Robert Cordell, 42, for aggravated murder in the deaths of his former sister-in-law, Kathleen Cordell, 40, and neighbors Frank Carnevale, 72, and Carnevale's ex-wife, Rita Bushman, 68. Mr. Carnevale was the former mayor of Reading.

The indictment also charged Mr. Cordell with aggravated robbery. Authorities said he set two fires April 2 at Mr. Carnevale's house in what they said was an apparent attempt to cover up the shootings there.

Mr. Cordell remains in jail on $2 million bond. A trial date will be set after his arraignment on Thursday.

Firefighters found the bodies of Mr. Carnevale and Ms. Bushman after responding to a report of a basement fire at the couple's home. Kathleen Cordell's body was found later.


Man gets 81 years to life for triple killing

The Associated Press

October 2, 2002

CINCINNATI A man was sentenced yesterday to 81 years to life in prison immediately after he pleaded guilty to charges that he killed the former Reading mayor and two women.

Prosecutors said Robert Cordell's guilty pleas and sentence ensure he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his two-day killing spree.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Cordell, 42, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated arson for killing former Reading mayor Frank Carnevale, 72; Carnevale's ex-wife Rita Bushman, 68, and Cordell's former sister-in-law Kathleen Cordell, 40.

Investigators said Robert Cordell set fire to Carnevale's home to cover up the shootings there of Carnevale and Bushman. Police in Reading, a Cincinnati suburb, said they found their bodies April 2 after neighbors called firefighters when they saw smoke coming from Carnevale's house.

Carnevale was sleeping in a recliner at his home when he was shot 12 times, police said. Bushman was shot in the head four times after she went to investigate the shots fired in the house, investigators said.

Police said Cordell strangled Kathleen Cordell - with whom he lived - the previous day, then shot Carnevale because the former mayor declined to loan his truck to him. Kathleen Cordell's body was found in her house next door to Carnevale.

Police said Cordell strangled his former sister-in-law because she confronted him after he stole medicine from her.

Cordell's guilty pleas avoided a trial scheduled for Oct. 28 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Prosecutors initially said they wanted to try Cordell and obtain death-penalty convictions. They did not say in court yesterday why they agreed to the plea deal and dropped the death-penalty specifications, but they said relatives of the victims agreed to accept the plea arrangement.

Judge Steven Martin said he approved the arrangement because he believes it will keep Cordell imprisoned for life. Relatives of the victims applauded yesterday when the judge said Cordell should never be released.

Cordell has said he remembers almost nothing of the killings because he suffered blackouts. Cordell said yesterday he couldn't explain why he killed the three people.



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