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Man gets life in prison for fatally stabbing woman, setting house on fire with her 8-year-old daughter inside

Posted at 11:07 PM, Mar 01, 2023

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday that a 32-year-old man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for stabbing a Mayfield Heights woman and then setting her house on fire while her 8-year-old child was inside. The mother and child both died as a result.

According to authorities, the defendant—Dominque C. Swopes, 32—pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated arson for the Nov. 20, 2018 deaths of Rebecca Pletnewski, 41, and her daughter, Olivia Schneider, 8.

It happened in the 1500 block of Longwood Road in Mayfield Heights.

Authorities said Swopes stabbed the woman, set the house on fire and fled. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the deaths as homicides.

According to authorities, the mother died from "cervical compression with sharp force injuries." The 8-year-old was transported to a nearby hospital after the fire and later died dead. The daughter's cause of death was smoke inhalation.

A $5,000 reward was offered by the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee.

Authorities initially brought Swopes, who lived next door to the mother and daughter, in for questioning the day of the fire but was released. He was arrested a week later and charged.

Swopes will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years.

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