Instead of Getting a Divorce, Christopher Leclair Chose Murder — Where Is He Now?

"The depravity and depths that you went to calculate this murder are unlike any this court has ever seen."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 5 2024, Published 5:46 p.m. ET

(L-R): Karen Leclair and Christopher Leclair
Source: YouTube/Fox 66 (video stills)

(L-R): Karen Leclair and Christopher Leclair

Before Erie County President Judge John J. Trucilla sentenced Christopher Leclair, the judge was sure to pay his respects to the woman Leclair murdered. "There was almost a recognizable gasp in this community when this crime was committed," said Judge Trucilla. "The depravity and depths that you went to calculate this murder are unlike any this court has ever seen." Why did this heartless man kill his wife and where is Christopher Leclair now? He's absolutely paying for his crime.

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Where is Christopher Leclair now? He is in prison, but maintains his innocence.

Judge Trucilla was not messing around when in December 2018, he ordered then-49-year-old Leclair to "serve the mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole plus three years and nine months to 17 years for first-degree murder and other charges in Karen Leclair's death," per Leclair chose to stay silent during his sentencing, though his court-appointed lawyer let the Erie, Penn., community know that his client maintains his innocence.

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In response to the sentencing, First Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Hirz said, "It's chilling what he did that day." She wasn't the only one who wanted to add their two cents to the justice that was served. Karen's brother Frank Case echoed Judge Trucilla's opinion of his late sister, calling her selfless to Leclair's selfish. "The sentences definitely take [Christopher Leclair] out of society, as well he should have been," said Case. He then prayed that Leclair would make peace with God.

What happened to Karen Leclair?

Hirz also said something else during Leclair's sentencing: "Rather than just leave her, this man decides to take her out to his boat and shoot her." What would prompt Leclair to murder his wife when a perfectly legal divorce is available? It's simple. He was having an affair. Before anyone irrationally blames his mistress, know that she was being lied to as well.

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Leclair's trial was well underway in October 2018 when Tracy Butler, Leclair's girlfriend, took the stand, per She testified that for years, Leclair told her Karen was living in Florida. He took the lie a horrifying step further by claiming he and Karen had almost no relationship as she was dying from cancer. When Butler demanded he commit to her fully or she would leave, Leclair chose the unthinkable.

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On June 10, 2017, surveillance video from the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority shows Leclair and Karen heading out on her husband's boat, reported People. He returned alone a few hours later. Butler said on the stand that Leclair spent that night with her, where the two of them discussed moving in together. The next morning footage shows Leclair going back out on his boat again.

Leclair didn't contact authorities until June 11, after saying he spent 30 hours searching for Karen who he claimed fell overboard. When police got ahold of the surveillance video, they noticed the inconsistencies in Leclair's story. While being interviewed by police, Leclair admitted to having an affair but had already deleted all their texts.

Almost a month later, reported that Karen's body had been found in Lake Erie off Dunkirk, N.Y. An anchor had been tied to Karen's body, an effort to weigh it down. The same rope used on the anchor was around Karen's legs. Investigators determined she died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

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