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Indiana man convicted in 2 killings to get life in prison

March 31, 2015

A northern Indiana man is set to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for the killings of his brother and sister-in-law.

Forty-four-year-old Steven Clippinger was found guilty in October of two counts of murder and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was charged with killing Matthew and Lisa Clippinger at their Mishawaka home in 2012.

The South Bend Tribune reports a judge found Monday that prosecutors proved necessary requirements for two life-without-parole sentences for Clippinger. An official sentencing hearing is set for April 20, and the judge will decide if Clippinger's sentences and another for the firearm charge should be served separately or at the same time.

Clippinger testified during his trial that his then-girlfriend shot his brother, and that he accidentally shot his sister-in-law during a struggle over a phone. The girlfriend was found guilty of assisting a criminal and giving a handgun to a felon.

Defense attorney Mark Lenyo presented testimony Monday from Clippinger's mother, who said he endured a rough childhood. She also said he volunteered at the local Center for the Homeless and that he's a good person.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said Clippinger's childhood doesn't outweigh his convictions in three killings. Clippinger was released from prison in 2010 after serving 20 years for another murder conviction.

"Many people grow up in dysfunctional families and go through life and don't kill three people," Cotter said.

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