Man sentenced to prison for killing uncle, strangling mother and staging her suicide in Sylmar

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles man who shot his uncle and strangled his mother, then staged her suicide, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

Marcel Gradvohl, 38, was sentenced Monday after pleading no contest to two counts of first-degree murder, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles police were called to the 12600 block of Amboy Avenue in Sylmar on November, 28 2021. Gradvohl met police and told them he had found his mother, 67-year-old Maureen Gradvohl, hanging from a rope in the garage.

However, authorities said the woman's injuries weren't consistent with suicide.

Detectives learned that on Nov. 26, Gradvohl was seen digging in the backyard. Investigators later found a body buried there.

Police said Gradvohl confessed during questioning that he shot and killed his uncle, Edward Steckel, 58, after a dispute, strangled his mother, then buried Steckel the next day and staged his mother's suicide.

Police said he called them on Nov. 28 claiming he discovered his mother hanging in the garage.

Gradvohl was later arrested and booked for murder.

He pleaded guilty to two-counts of first-degree murder Monday.

Gradvohl was sentenced to 25 years to life, plus one year for the use of a rope in his mother's murder, and 25 years to life plus four years for the use of a handgun in the murder of his uncle.

Both of Gradvohl's sentences were ordered to run consecutively.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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