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SHARON – When Serena Ann Schoeder said she planned to leave her husband, he allegedly responded by murdering her, Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker said.

Acker said George and Schoeder, 41, of Lemoore, Calif., were playing games in George’s mother’s trailer Monday night when George went to the bedroom and asked his wife to come with him. He then strangled her after she told him she was leaving. The couple had been married since January.

The district attorney’s office filed criminal homicide charges Tuesday against George, 44, of 374 N. Perry Highway, Lot 87. District Judge Daniel W. Davis of Mercer arraigned George and sent him to Mercer County Jail without bail.

State police in Mercer said George called Mercer County 911 at 10:44 p.m. Monday and reported that his wife was dead.

According to a criminal complaint, after the call was transferred to state police, George told a trooper that his wife was dead and that he had strangled her, police said.

Mercer County Coroner John A. Libonati pronounced Schoeder dead at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday and said Schoeder was killed around 9:30 or 10 p.m. Monday.

An autopsy conducted Tuesday by Dr. Eric Vey of the Erie County Coroner’s office ruled Schoeder’s death as homicide by asphyxiation due to strangulation, Libonati said.

Acker said he could remember only one other strangulation homicide in Mercer County — 21 years ago in Sharpsville. Leon R. “Luggo” Grande pleaded guilty in April 2001 to third-degree murder after admitting that he killed Deborra DeSantis, his 47-year-old girlfriend, in her home in May 2000.

Grande was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. He is in the State Correctional Institution of Albion.

Acker said Grande applied within the last two years for a reduced sentence in DeSantis’ murder. The district attorney and President Judge Robert G. Yeatts wrote strong letters against it to the Board of Pardons. The state denied Grande’s request.

George’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 28.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: mklaric@sharonherald.com

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Melissa has been a news reporter for The Herald since 2013, covering breaking news, northern Mercer County, Sharon City schools and education. She is a 1992 graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.