DNA found under the fingernails on a hand that was not cremated led to a sentence for strangulation, as Calvin Purdie Jr., 35, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years for third degree murder and one Consecutive sentence of 10 to 20 years for aggravated arson by a judge in Dauphin County, Pa., Monday.
“It was cold, heartless and vicious,” Judge William Tully told Purdie, mentioning that he thought the case was “about as close to a first degree murder case as you can come. “without a verdict of first degree murder, according to PennLive.com.
Purdie was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend’s mother, whose body was discovered in a fire in 2019. A jury found him guilty of the crimes in November after a previous trial where jurors failed. to an agreement on a verdict.
Purdie’s DNA was discovered under the fingernails of Charlotte Chaplin, 48, which was not cremated, prosecutors said. Authorities accused him of setting fire to cover up Chaplin’s May 2019 murder in Hershey.
The fire occurred on May 23, 2019, around 6:44 a.m., police said. Daily Voice Dolphin reported. One of Chaplin’s adult children and their daughter slept during the fire, but made it out alive. They had no knowledge of what had happened to Chaplin until the police arrived.
Purdie was found to have new scratches on his face the morning of the fire, PennLive.com reported.
Police said Purdie surrendered on July 17, 2019, according to Daily Voice Dolphin.
“He is a danger to society,” District Attorney Fran Chardo said of Purdie, PennLive.com reported, “and he will remain a danger to society.”
Kenneth Martin, Chaplin’s son, said there was a sense of relief that Purdie was being held responsible for Chaplin’s death, and “we have no doubts that he got the maximums on these charges.” , according to PennLive.com. He said it would help let the family start working on the closure.
Authorities said Purdie was living with the victim and dating her daughter at the time, and prosecutors said Purdie came to see Chaplin as an “obstacle” to his relationship with his daughter.
Defense attorneys said their client had nothing to do with the murder and suggested that a stalker or an ex-boyfriend of the victim could be responsible, PennLive.com reported. Prosecutors said the other people suggested by the defense all had strong alibis.
Purdie was on parole for aggravated assault at the time, prosecutors said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.