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Ohio man indicted in beating death of 94-year-old World War II veteran

Cleveland police (Tim Evanson/Flickr)

A grand jury has charged a 41-year-old Parma man in the fatal beating of a 94-year-old World World II veteran in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

Michael Dudas is charged in an 11-count indictment with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and misuse of credit cards in the death of Charles Vonderau.

Dudas has been jailed on a $2 million since his April 18 arrest. He is set for a Thursday arraignment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Cleveland police and paramedics found Vonderau’s body on April 15 inside his house on West 11th Street, after his family grew concerned when they couldn’t reach him and asked officers to check on him, police said.

Investigators linked Dudas to the killing and the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested him on April 18 near Pearl Rd. and Henniger Road, prosecutors said.

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Police and prosecutors have not offered a motive for the killing.

“This was a brutal murder by an individual who has no regard for human life,” Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a Tuesday news release. “This senseless killing – of a man who served our nation during a time when we needed him most – is truly tragic.”

Vonderau served in the Navy as a Yeoman Second Class on the U.S.S. Bangust warship, according to his obituary. He was the father of two and married for nearly 51 years.

Vonderau owned a paint store in Lakewood for several years before working for Koehler Rubber and Supply Co. for 20 years and retiring in 1987. He was an Indians and Browns fan, and loved jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble and old movies, his obituary said.

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