Plea deal for Fenton man accused of killing neighbor

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | 10:18 a.m. CDT

CLAYTON — A plea deal has resulted in a lengthy sentence for the St. Louis County man accused in the murder of a woman found dead in the rubble of her apartment that had been deliberately set on fire.

Robert Hodge of Fenton pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and other charges in the 2007 death of 23-year-old Melanie Breckle.

Hodge, who is 32, was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole on the murder charge, plus an additional 30 years for arson and armed criminal action.

Investigators say Breckle had been beaten and fatally stabbed before Hodge set fire to the building to try and cover up the crime. Hodge lived in the apartment across the hallway from Breckle.


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