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Unger Sentenced to Life in 1975 Murder of Hagerstown Police Officer

Nearly 38 years after his initial conviction, a local known escapist and convicted killer of a Hagerstown police officer, was sentenced to life on Monday.
EASTON, Md. - Nearly 38 years after his initial conviction, a local known escapist and convicted killer of a Hagerstown police officer, was sentenced to life on Monday. 

Prosecutors tell WHAG Merle Unger, now in his 60's, was found guilty of murdering Officer Donald Kline for a second time back in June of this year. He was convicted of three charges, including first-degree murder, armed robbery and a handgun violation. 

In the Dec. 13, 1975 incident, police say Kline, who was off-duty, came upon a robbery at Kim's Korner on South Mulberry Street. Kline chased Unger into an alley and shots were fired. Kine died of his wounds and Unger was found wounded in a nearby house. 

Court officials say while Unger was serving his life sentence, he developed a long history of escapes, fleeing from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida prisons. 

According to court documents, Unger was granted a retrial after it was determined that the judge presiding over the original trial had given improper instruction to the jury. 

Both trials were held in Easton, Maryland. 

**Video File footage. 
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