Man pleads no contest in killing of future mother-in-law

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of fatally stabbing and shooting his future mother-in-law five days before he was supposed to marry her daughter pleaded no contest Wednesday in her death.

Jeffrey Scullin Jr., 21, shot Melinda Pleskovic three times and stabbed her more than 30 times last October inside the home where he lived with his fiancée’s family, prosecutors said.

Afterward, Scullin met Pleskovic’s husband for dinner. When the two men returned to the home, they both called 911 after finding 49-year-old Pleskovic, a schoolteacher, on the kitchen floor with blood all around, prosecutors said.

He pleaded no contest to aggravated murder and other charges Wednesday in Pleskovic’s death. The plea came as Scullin was set to go on trial, a day after a judge ruled against throwing out his confession.

Scullin’s attorney said he still maintains his innocence and that the plea allows him to appeal the judge’s decision allowing the confession. Scullin is due to be sentenced next week and could get life in prison.

Authorities said Scullin had a history of disagreements with Pleskovic and allegedly planned the attack for weeks.

Prior to the killing, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Christopher Schroeder said Scullin reported a series of recent burglaries to police near their Strongsville home in suburban Cleveland.

Scullin also had told police that an unknown man tried to enter the home just days before the killing.

“All these things started happening when the defendant moved into the house,” Schroeder said.

Scullin’s attorney, Joseph Patituce, said his client’s decision to enter a plea also was motivated by the family’s reaction to gruesome evidence presented at an earlier hearing.

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