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Manslaughter plea entered in High Street slaying

FORT WAYNE -- A 28-year-old Fort Wayne man pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to involuntary manslaughter, admitting to beating another man to death during a night of drinking.

Steven L. Lemler, of the 1700 block of High Street, admitted to killing 42-year-old Kirk D. Lecount on July 17.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Lemler will be sentenced to a total of eight years in prison, with two years suspended and to be served on probation. He must also undergo alcohol counseling, according to court documents.

He will be sentenced later this month.

According to court documents, Lemler and Lecount were drinking with a group of people in the background of another house on High Street when Lemler became irritated with Lecount, believing he had disrespected a woman in the group.

Lemler punched Lecount in the face, knocking him out cold. After another individual picked Lecount up and put him in a recliner, Lemler punched him two or three more times in the face, and threw a red cooler at his head, according to court documents.

After that, two other men took Lecount down the street to his own home and left him in his yard, alive but “out of it,” according to court documents.

Early the next morning, paramedics were called to Lecount’s home after a neighbor reported the man lying face down in the yard. He was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.

When police interviewed Lemler, he acknowledged drinking with Lecount, but denied attacking him, according to court documents.