Sunday, August 5, 2012

Belmont County, OH: Woman gets 15 to life in prison for murdering boyfriend after emotional sentencing hearing

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — After emotional testimony from a killer and the victim's family, a woman was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for murdering her boyfriend in Belmont County.

Carol Wagner, 50, pleaded guilty in May to one count of murder with a firearm specification. She was sentenced on Friday, nearly one year after she shot and killed 58-year-old David Bower.

Wagner's remorse was evident as she took the stand during her sentencing hearing, but Bower's family told her they hope she never forgets her crime.

"Four shots is not an accident. There's no doubt in my mind that she intended to kill him," one of Bower's relatives said. "And I hope that Aug. 14, 2011, replays in your mind every day, as it has mine."

Wagner called 911 last year saying she shot her boyfriend multiple times in the chest at his home on Fairpoint-New Athens Road, about five miles from St. Clairsville. Bower was later pronounced dead.

On Friday, Wagner's defense attorney Joseph Vavra reiterated his client's remorse.

"Every day she deals with this and what she did," Vavra said.

When Wagner's own daughter took the stand, Wagner was barely able to control her emotions.

"I do not believe that this was intended to happen this way. My mom loved him with all of her heart," Wagner's daughter said.

But prosecuting attorney Chris Berhalter said the crime was not by chance.

"She fired four shots, three of which fatally struck the victim. That was not a mistake, that was not an accident," Berhalter said.

When Wagner was given the opportunity to speak on her own behalf, she was overcome with emotion.

"I never meant for any of this to happen," she said. "I am so sorry."

As the case came to a close, Judge John Solovan told Wagner, "The impact of your crime will not be forgotten."

After she was sentenced for an indefinite term of 15 years to life in prison, family members sobbed as she was taken into custody by the Belmont County Sheriff's Office.

Wagner will be transported to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

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