MAN SEN­TENCED IN WOMAN’S DEATH

Randy E. Hamil­ton sen­tenced to 151⁄2 years in girl­friend’s 2016 shoot­ing death

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Reynolds

Randy E. Hamil­ton learned Nov. 13 he will spend the next 15 years and six months in prison for the shoot­ing death of his 45-year-old live-in girl­friend.

Hamil­ton was found guilty Nov. 7 of two counts of reck­less homi­cide and sin­gle counts of in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter, felo­nious as­sault, hav­ing weapons un­der dis­abil­ity and re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty af­ter shoot­ing and killing Michelle L. Ryals in their Avon Belden Road home Oct. 25, 2016, with a gun stolen from the Lo­rain County Air­port.

Ju­rors ac­quit­ted Hamil­ton of two counts of mur­der in the case.

Ryals’ mother, Mary Utt, wept Nov. 13 as she ad­dressed Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge John R. Mi­raldi be­fore the sen­tence was handed down.

Utt said she re­ceived a call from her daugh­ter on the day of the mur­der claim­ing Hamil­ton

“The shock of her death al­most killed me.” — Michelle L. Ryals’ mother, Mary Utt

had found text mes­sages be­tween Ryals and her ex­hus­band on her cell phone and that this would cause prob­lems in the home.

“She said, ‘I’ll call you when I get back from work,’ but she never did,” Utt said hold­ing back tears. “He in­ten­tion­ally shot her in a drunken, jeal­ous rage. And I know that. It was no ac­ci­dent.”

Utt asked the court how many more women would be abused or killed be­fore some­one stops Hamil­ton.

“I’ve lost my lunch part­ner; I’ve lost my shop­ping com­pan­ion; I’ve lost my baby,” she said.

Utt said a few years ago, she sold her home in Cleve­land and bought one in North Ridgeville to be closer to Ryals.

But now that Ryals is dead, she said she is all alone.

“The shock of her death al­most killed me,” Utt said. “I still can’t be­lieve it. I’m hop­ing Randy dies in prison, and when he does die I hope he burns in hell for­ever.”

Ryals’ sis­ter, Joan Gar­ven also ad­dressed the court.

Gar­ven read a state­ment from an­other sis­ter Kathy Utt and one for her­self.

Kathy Utt’s state­ment dealt with her own work with the Cuya­hoga County Com­mon Pleas Court Planning Board.

“With Michelle’s mur­der, I know now that noth­ing works,” the state­ment said. “The sys­tem is bro­ken. It’s shat­tered. I’m dis­gusted and dis­il­lu­sioned.”

Kathy Utt wrote that af­ter the con­clu­sion of this case, she can’t write grants and no longer wants to help felons.

She said the grief of her sis­ter’s death is killing her mother.

In Gar­ven’s own state­ment, she de­scribed her own ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with Ryals’ death and tak­ing care of the Avon Belden Road home she was killed in.

“I find her last load of laun­dry in the dryer,” Gar­ven said. “She didn’t know she was go­ing to die that day. It’s too much. It’s over­whelm­ing. I’m too an­gry.”

Lo­rain County As­sis­tant Pros­e­cu­tor An­thony Cillo placed a framed photo of Ryals on the pros­e­cu­tion desk.

Cillo re­quested Mi­raldi give Hamil­ton the max­i­mum sen­tence al­lowed cit­ing his his­tory of con­vic­tions in courts through­out Lo­rain County for in­ci­dents in­clud­ing head-butting his daugh­ter, steal­ing and shoot­ing his daugh­ter’s dog and mul­ti­ple al­co­hol-in­volved in­ci­dents.

“He has an ex­ten­sive crim­i­nal his­tory of con­vic­tions, your honor,” Cillo said. “The de­fen­dant has not re­sponded fa­vor­ably to sanc­tions pre­vi­ously done. This is a prodi­gious stack of sanc­tions that he’s faced and it has not slowed down. It has in­creased over that time, your honor.”

De­fense at­tor­ney Ken­neth Lieux asked Mi­raldi to sen­tence Hamil­ton “ac­cord­ingly.”

Lieux said his client would not make a state­ment due to his in­ten­tion to ap­peal.

Speak­ing af­ter the sen­tence was pro­nounced, Gar­ven said she wished the jury in Hamil­ton’s case had heard what was said be­fore sen­tenc­ing.

“They didn’t hear half of what should have been told,” she said. “If they had been aware they could have found him guilty of mur­der.

“It wasn’t reck­less, it was on pur­pose. He knew what he was do­ing. He al­ways knew what he was do­ing.”

Mary Utt added Hamil­ton in­tended to kill her daugh­ter.

“The gun was not in her room,” she said. “He’s as guilty as could be of mur­der.”

“The de­fen­dant has not re­sponded fa­vor­ably to sanc­tions pre­vi­ously done. This is a prodi­gious stack of sanc­tions that he’s faced and it has not slowed down. It has in­creased over that time, your honor.” — Lo­rain County As­sis­tant Pros­e­cu­tor An­thony Cillo

ERIC BONZAR — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Randy E. Hamil­ton, 51, ap­pears be­fore Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge John R. Mi­raldi on Nov. 13. The North Ridgeville man was sen­tenced to 15 years and six months in prison for the Oct. 25, 2016, shoot­ing death of Michelle L. Ryals, 45, his live-in girl­friend.

ERIC BONZAR — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Michelle L. Ryals’ mother, Mary Utt, makes a state­ment dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing of Randy E. Hamil­ton, Nov. 13. “I’ve lost my lunch part­ner. I’ve lost my shop­ping com­pan­ion. I’ve lost my baby.” Utt said while ad­dress­ing the court. Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge John R. Mi­raldi sen­tenced the North Ridgeville man to 15 years and six months in prison for the Oct. 25, 2016 shoot­ing death of Ryals.

ERIC BONZAR — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Randy E. Hamil­ton ap­pears in Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge John R. Mi­raldi’s court­room for sen­tenc­ing, Nov. 13.

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