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Man charged with strangling woman

LANCASTER -- A Lancaster man was in custody Saturday after police say he confessed to strangling his girlfriend during an argument Friday night.

Calvin Lyndale Gaddy, 43, of 3155 Major Evans Road was arrested late Friday and charged with murder in connection with the death of Aretha Cunningham, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Herald.

Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Marie Broome said Cunningham, 35, was found on a bed in a bedroom at a home on Major Evans Road, a home that was lived in but does not have electricity.

An autopsy is planned for Monday morning, Broome said. Preliminary results, including the cause of death, will be available Monday afternoon. However, she said, the toxicology report as well as final lab results will not be available for at least two weeks.

Around 10:10 p.m. Friday, Gaddy walked into the lobby at the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and announced to officials that he had just killed his girlfriend, according to the arrest warrant.

Officials then responded to 3155 Major Evans Road, where they discovered Cunningham's body.

A motive for the strangling has not been determined, said Maj. Barry Faile of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.

Faile said the couple started arguing around 4 p.m.

"They were having a domestic dispute," Faile said. "He started choking her. He thought she passed out.

"He left to go to the store," Faile continued. "When he came back, she was still lying there, not breathing."

Gaddy told police he rode around for a while contemplating suicide before he went to turn himself in, Faile said.

Gaddy's arrest warrant states he told officials he choked Cunningham to death.

'A sweet person'

Sandra Perry learned of her younger sister's death just after midnight Friday.

"I want to know why he strangled her," Perry said. "It couldn't have been that bad, whatever the situation was."

Cunningham, the mother of a 17-year-old son, formerly attended Lancaster High School, Perry said.

"She didn't let things she went through bring her down," Perry said. "She was a sweet person. She was real quiet, and she didn't bother nobody."

Cunningham often brightened Perry's day.

"She would joke a lot," Perry said." She would just pull them out of the blue."

Domestic violence conviction

Gaddy's criminal history includes convictions for criminal domestic violence, driving under the influence, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

A bond hearing for the murder charge could be held as early as Monday, Faile said.

Gaddy remained in custody Saturday at the Lancaster County Detention Center.

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