CUYAHOGA FALLS — An Akron man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the 2017 murder of an Akron woman in an Howe Avenue apartment, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office announced.

Marcus Coker, 36, of of North Howard Street, will be eligible for parole after 36 years.

Cuyahoga Falls police said that 27-year-old Ashley M. Williams, Coker’s girlfriend, was stabbed multiple times and strangled in an apartment in Howe Avenue’s 1000 block in the late evening Sept. 22, 2017. Her body was discovered the next day by the apartment’s resident. The resident called 911 at about 7:30 p.m., telling a dispatcher that a friend had been staying with him in the apartment, but he did not know the whereabouts of the friend or who the woman was.

Coker later led police on a high-speed chase into Akron before crashing in the area of Arnold Avenue near Eastland Avenue in Akron.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office was not able to determine whether the strangling or the stabbing caused Williams’ death, the prosecutor’s office previously said.

"Ashley Williams was a beloved mother, daughter, and friend. Her death will deeply impact the community for years. She will truly be missed," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. "Marcus Coker is [a] violent criminal and deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. The community is safer with Mr. Coker locked up."

On March 26, Coker pleaded no contest to all charges in an indictment in connection to Williams’ murder, including aggravated murder, a special felony; three counts of murder, all special felonies; two counts of first-degree felony kidnapping; and two counts of second-degree felony assault, with all of the charges including repeat violent offender specifications; and third-degree felony failure to comply.

The indictment, however, did not include any death penalty specifications

Coker also pleaded no contest to charges in connection with a separate incident in which Coker assaulted a former girlfriend after breaking into her Akron home two days before Williams’ murder.

Those charges included first-degree felony aggravated burglary, second-degree felony robbery, fourth-degree felony disrupting a public service, and first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence. After the pleadings, Judge kelly McLaughlin found Coker guilty of the all of the charges.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.