MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee upheld his original sentence for Patrick McGail in a remand hearing through the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals held Friday.
Defense attorneys Candace Crouse and Eric Eckes appeared on McGail’s behalf Friday. McGail, now 20, also appeared in court, but did not speak on his own behalf.
Crouse and Eckes asked for the court to consider McGail’s age, one month shy of 18 years old, at the time of the incident and noted it was co-defendant Jason Sowers who delivered the fatal shot to cause the death of Nathan Wintrow. The defense also highlighted McGail’s rehabilitation and conduct since his incarceration.
Jason Sowers, then 17, and McGail, also 17, entered the duplex on East Canal Street through the back door. Sowers admitted to shooting Wintrow in the head after fighting in the hallway after he and McGail broke in the house. Sowers, now 19, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, while Brendon Terrel, now 21, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
McGail was found guilty by a jury for murder and aggravated burglary with firearm specifications. Gee upheld his original sentence for McGail to serve 15 years to life for murder, six years for aggravated burglary, plus a mandatory three years for a gun specification, all to run consecutively, for McGail’s role in Wintrow’s death. It was the same sentence Gee ordered for McGail in October 2014.
Prior to upholding his original sentence, Judge Gee said ultimately it was McGail’s absence of genuine remorse for his actions nearly three years later after Nathan Wintrow was fatally shot on Oct. 30, 2013, that influenced his decision.
“Your consistent refusal to acknowledge your obvious participation demonstrates an advocation of moral responsibility that is inconsistent with genuine remorse,” Gee said. Gee said his original sentence was set higher than the co-defendants Sowers and Terrel to protect the public since McGail continues to refuse and accept any responsibility for his actions.
Gee said the consecutive sentence were consistent and adequately reflects McGail’s conduct and participation of the murder and aggravated robbery of Wintrow.
Gee noted McGail’s own testimony under oath in his own trial, pre-sentence investigation, and prior sentencing hearing, that McGail continues to “consistently deny the obvious reality of your part in this very tragic event.”
Gee said the court found McGail’s own testimony as “callous, cynical, and contemptuous” in regard to all victims including the witnesses inside the home at the time of the incident.
Judge Gee said he considered McGail’s age at the time of the offense, noting his seven years as a magistrate in juvenile court. Gee said McGail was mature beyond his birth age at the time of the offense due to his community involvement including volunteering through his church and serving as a leader as a civil air cadet commander.
Judge Gee said he considered the original pre-sentence investigation, McGail’s clean criminal record prior to the incident. During the hearing, the court heard statements from Wintrow’s fiance, Sadie Barker, on behalf of Wintrow’s now-5-year-old son, Barker’s grandmother Kathy Davidson, father David Wintrow and mother Theresa McKinney. Judge Gee noted the family’s psychological harm, as well as statements made by McGail’s defense and special prosecutor Ryan Saunders.
“The whole events of that night will never go away for those inhabitants of that house. They have continued to relive those events for the rest of their lives undoubtedly,” Gee said. “That harm endures for those folks.”
McGail has 30 days to file an appeal.
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