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"Families are great murderers of the creative impulse, particularly husbands," Brenda Ueland once said. It is also what Dateline and the ID Network have built their brands on as of late. Each story should start with the spoiler that the husband did it. Christopher Leclair decided that he was done pretending to be a happily married man, and instead of getting a pesky divorce, he would kill his wife, throwing her in Lake Erie. The only problem was he had told another lady that's precisely how he was going to get rid of his spouse. And just in case, spoiler alert: The husband did it!
Leclair told a female acquaintance, Alexandra Schuler, of his dastardly plot to get rid of his wife back in 2004, and he made sure that she knew that this was not a joke. He was serious about it. "'She's going to fall off the boat, and no one's ever going to find her body." Innocent people talk about how their spouse is going to die all the time, and then are shocked when it happens the way they predicted—especially when they are the one to end their life. Such a mystery how that happens.
What led to Leclair ending Karen Leclair's, his wife's, life? His side piece was wanting more. There are only so many times that a mistress can be promised that next year will be the year a divorce happens before they start to lose patience, and eventually, they'll testify at a murder trial for the prosecution. Tracy Butler told the jurors at her former lover's hearing that she had been pressing him to choose between her and his wife. Prosecutor Elizabeth Hirz simplified it for the men and women, listening to the testimony. She said that Leclair had been living a "double life" and "that in June of 2017, it came to a head, forcing him to choose between the two." So petty that the side piece got angry about having to share Leclair with his wife.
After being presented with an ultimatum, Leclair took his wife out for a boat ride on Lake Erie. There he shot her, tied an anchor to her ankle, and heaved her into the water. As her body sunk to the bottom, he left the scene of the crime. Another boater happened to notice a body floating in the lake and made an emergency call on July 4, 2017. As fireworks were celebrating the nation's birthday, police were looking into the murder and they didn't have to look far.
Leclair's defense, if it can be called that, was to insist that his wife had taken her life because she was fed up with his cheating. The only thing he had done wrong was throwing her body overboard because he was embarrassed that she had committed suicide. It's like the defense attorney decided that the case was lost and he might as well mock the defendant while collecting his fees. They weren't much, he was a court-appointed attorney. Leclair must have spent all of his money on women who are not his wife. Or maybe he wanted to go to prison.
There was only one person who called as a witness for the defense: Karl Williams, the Medical examiner for Allegheny County. His testimony was that the gunshot in Karen's head was at close range, similar to suicide. Because no murderer has ever held a gun close to the victim. It's simply unheard of. That coupled with Bruce Sandmeyer's effervescent defense, "Mr. Leclair is not on trial for his lifestyle, it is whether he shot Karen Leclair and killed her. I submit to you that the evidence did not show that. This was a period where Karen Leclair had had enough." It was supposed to prove Leclair's innocence; strange that victim blaming didn't work here.
It took the jury less than two hours to decide that Christopher Leclair killed his wife and come back with a guilty verdict. And after such a hefty defense. Who could have seen that coming? Maybe confessing something 13 years before the actual crime happened wasn't such a smart idea after all. At the very least, someone should have warned the jury; spoiler alert: The husband did it.