Jury convicts man of murdering girlfriend

PONTIAC (AP) -- A jury has convicted a man of first-degree murder in the strangulation of his girlfriend, who was found buried a shallow grave in northern Michigan.

The Oakland County Circuit Court jury deliberated 40 minutes before convicting Joseph D. Susalla on Monday. Judge Colleen O'Brien is to sentence him July 6 to the mandatory life in prison without parole.

The 50-year-old Livingston County man was convicted in the May 2009 death of 50-year-old Kelley Duberg.

Police say the Wixom woman was found naked and wrapped in plastic in a 4-foot grave in Crawford County's Beaver Creek Township. That's about 45 miles east of Traverse City.

Susalla testified he strangled Duberg after she kicked him in the groin but says he didn't plan her death.

Published: Wed, Jun 16, 2010