LAKE COUNTY, OH — A former Police officer and Lake County special deputy Monday afternoon in Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
Gary Stroud, 59, of Mentor-on-the-Lake, admitted to Judge Joseph Gibson that he repeatedly struck his wife, Diane Stroud, in the head with a hammer and then hid her body in their garage for weeks.
Stroud will face a mandatory punishment of 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 8.
Stroud , two counts of kidnapping, two counts of felonious assault and one count of tampering with evidence. But, as part of his plea bargain, those charges were dismissed.
Diane Stroud, , had not been seen for six weeks when police were called to their home on Nov. 27, 2011, after a family member smelled an unusual odor coming from the garage.
During that time, Gary Stroud told his family and neighbors that she had left him and joined a cult, .
When the family member asked about the smell, Stroud claimed that one of the chickens he kept in the back yard had died. But the family member was suspicious enough that she called police.
When police searched the garage, they found Diane Stroud's body. It was encased in a sleeping bag with a garbage bag pulled over her head that was secured with duct tape. Then the sleeping bag was covered with a tarp that was also held down with duct tape, according to the affidavit.
Finally, both a bag of lime and a bottle of bleach were found near the body.
Police immediately arrested Gary Stroud.
Stroud retired from the Mentor Police Department more than six years ago. Since then, he had worked for the Lake County Sheriff's Office part time as a special deputy.
He provided court security, helped deliver papers, escorted clerical employees to the bank and did other odd jobs.
Stroud was laid off by the department in September 2011 -- not because he was remiss in his work but because of financial necessities, the sheriff said.
Additionally, Stroud's house was foreclosed on in October, according to Lake County Court of Common Pleas records.