A three-judge appeals court panel is expected to issue a ruling later.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An attorney is seeking a reduction in the 48-year-to-life sentence imposed in the killing and dismemberment of his client’s former girlfriend, whose remains were found in a freezer in Ohio.

Arturo Novoa, 34, was sentenced in 2019 after pleading guilty to murder, abuse of a corpse and other charges in the 2017 slaying of 28-year-old Shannon Graves.

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Defense attorney Lou DeFabio argues in a filing with the 7th District Court of Appeals that Novoa should not have been sentenced to separate prison sentences on evidence-tampering convictions in connection with 24 offenses allegedly committed during the destruction and concealment of the victim’s body.

DeFabio also argued that Novoa’s plea was not “knowing, intelligent and voluntary” because the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge did not make Novoa aware of the maximum penalty he faced, The Vindicator newspaper reported.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, however, said the judge “unambiguously advised (Novoa) that he could face up to life in prison.” A lawyer with the office said the case “presents some of the most gruesome and horrific details in Mahoning County and perhaps Ohio’s history.”

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Prosecutors said the defendant and victim met in April 2016 and lived together but their relationship was volatile and the victim was killed in February 2017, apparently with a heavy, metal object. Authorities alleged Novoa then took her body to another home where he and a co-defendant dismembered it and put it in storage totes. The following month, Novoa held a bonfire to destroy the victim’s clothes, papers and other items, authorities said.

Prosecutors alleged that sulfuric acid was used on portions of the body, but the parts that remained were moved to a freezer, then later moved to another freezer in a new apartment. That freezer was moved to a friend’s home, where the friends discovered the remains in a backpack and called police, prosecutors said.

“Your planning, scheming and actions in this case have shocked the conscience of the community,” Judge Anthony Donofrio said during Novoa’s sentencing, according to Vindicator files. “Your actions were inhumane, cruel, sadistic and barbaric.”

The three-judge appeals court panel is expected to issue a ruling later.

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