- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A judge sentenced a Fort Wayne man to 70 years in prison Monday for fatally bludgeoning a 78-year-old female neighbor with a fireplace poker and robbing her.

Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck sentenced Zachary Reinders to 60 years on a murder charge and 10 years for robbery after he pleaded guilty in the death of Diane Woods. Surbeck ordered the sentences to be served one after the other.

The woman’s body was found by her son in her home on Aug. 8 after family members had been unable to reach her for several days.

Reinders, 23, admitted using a fireplace poker to beat Woods to death before stealing her wallet, a television and cigarettes.

Reinders’ mother found the wallet in a trash can in front of her porch and turned it over to police. Police then got permission to search her home and found two pairs of shoes, one of which appeared to have blood on it. The woman confirmed the shoes belonged to her son, according to court documents.

Testing by an Indiana State Police lab indicated one of the shoes had Reinders’ DNA on the inside and Woods’ blood and DNA on the outside, according to court documents.

Reinders and another man used a credit card belonging to Woods to buy an electronic game console, jewelry and clothes, Fort Wayne Police Department investigators said in court documents.

Relatives of Reinders testified at the sentencing hearing that he had a horrific childhood with abuse and drug addiction rampant in his home.

Woods’ family testified she was loving and generous, even to Reinders.

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