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Daniel Cleary
Daniel Cleary

PEKIN -- A Normal man was sentenced to 60 years in prison Wednesday for the 2008 murder of his wife.

Daniel Cleary was convicted in March in the beating death of Melissa Cleary, whose body was found in Hartsburg in Logan County two days after her family reported her missing in June 2008.

The sentence was the maximum term available for first-degree murder.

According to testimony at a March trial, the victim told friends she felt her marriage had been crumbling for years. Prosecutors produced photos at the trial of blood splattered in the garage of the home the Clearys shared in Mackinaw. Cleary later moved to Normal, where he was arrested in April 2010.

"This was a very complicated, lengthy investigation and we're pleased to have that concluded," said Tazewell County State's Attorney Steward Umholtz.

The 60-year sentence "provides justice in this case," said Umholtz.

The prosecutor said the Cleary case is a reminder to people living under the threat of domestic abuse that help is available, he said.

"Melissa Cleary believed that her decision to leave her husband could result in her death and she was right," said Umholtz.

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