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
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
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
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,
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.