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Man pleads after strangulation case goes to court

Lexington, SC - Mykell “A.J.” Lerch, a 25 year old Lexington County man, was sentenced earlier today to 18 years in prison for the asphyxiation of Mark Alexander Zeigler. Zeigler was killed at his residence located at 1137 Seminole Drive in West Columbia in 2013. The trial began on Monday and during the middle of the trial, Lerch entered his plea to Voluntary Manslaughter. This charge is a “no parole” offense in South Carolina.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard remarked, “This was a difficult case and we are pleased with the outcome. The victim’s wife is pleased with the result as well. This case was based largely on circumstantial evidence and crime scene reconstruction.”

Information obtained by the West Columbia Police Department (WCPD) during the homicide investigation revealed that Zeigler was killed by Lerch during the early morning hours of August 1, 2013. Lerch and Zeigler were the only persons present at the residence at the time of Zeigler’s death. Lerch was a guest in Zeigler’s home and the two had been acquainted for several months. Following the homicide, Lerch maintained that he killed Zeigler in self-defense during an altercation.

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