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Man sentenced for killing 4 over space heater

/ Source: The Associated Press

A homeless man who pleaded guilty to murdering four men in a dispute over a space heater and dumping their bodies in manholes was sentenced Tuesday to 65 years in prison.

Daniel J. Sharp, 55, of South Bend pleaded guilty in May to killing Michael S. "Shan" Nolen, Michael W. Lawson, Jason Coates and Brian Talboom, all described as homeless men. Their bodies were found inside two South Bend manholes over four days in January.

When St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller asked Sharp if he had anything to say at his sentencing, he replied, "I can't really think of anything."

Prosecutors said the killings were carried out with the help of another homeless man, Randy Lee Reeder, 51.

Sharp testified during Reeder's trial that the two were upset that someone had stolen the propane space heater they had recently bought at a garage sale. He said he and Reeder heard the men, who were living a floor above them in a vacant building, using the heater and laughing about it. Sharp testified that he and Reeder beat the men to death the next day.

Reeder was convicted of four counts of murder in August and was set to be sentenced Friday.