MIAMI COUNTY — Hope Earnshaw-York recalled details of the final moments of 88-year-old William York’s life as she watched her boyfriend Richard Terrel strike her grandfather in the back of the head with a baseball bat in York Sr.’s garage on May 26, 2015.
The investigation files were made public following Earnshaw-York and Terrel’s sentencing hearings with Judge Christopher Gee presiding on Nov. 29.
Terrel, 37, of Troy, was sentenced to serve 15 years for voluntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse, and two counts of receiving stolen property for the theft and sale of York’s guns before his death. The felonious assault charged merged with the voluntary manslaughter charge, according to the plea agreement with the state. He received 545 days of jail credit. He entered a plea of guilty to the charges in October, admitting he killed York.
Earnshaw-York, 25, was sentenced to serve three years in prison for her role in York’s death. Her charges included tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse, possession of heroin and three counts of receiving stolen property. She faced up to nine years in prison, but the court was unable to impose consecutive sentences due to the lack of evidence in the case. She entered a plea of no contest to all the charges. She received 547 days of jail credit. She will be released in approximately a year and a half due to time already served. She could serve up to three years of post-release control at the discretion of the parole board upon her release.
Earnshaw-York told investigators she was carrying her 3-year-old son’s toys into York Sr.’s garage on Evanston Road, Tipp City, along with her grandfather on May 26, 2015. Her boyfriend, often referred to as her husband, Terrel was also in the garage working on the brakes of his car. Hope stated her grandfather was frustrated and “nit picking her about things around the house.” Hope told investigators she started arguing with her grandfather over his criticisms.
“She explained that ‘Pop’ had turned his back on Rick to speak to her while they were arguing and he was saying very hateful hurting remarks.”
Hope told investigators her grandfather said the “wrong thing at the wrong time” and Terrel hit her grandfather with a baseball bat from behind. She claimed Rick hit her grandfather in the head a minimum of four times as York pleaded for help, stating “Why are you doing this?” and “Help … help” before succumbing to his injuries 15 to 20 minutes later.
When asked about the force of the blows, Hope told investigators “I kind of freaked out a little bit. A lot actually. I can’t get the sound out of my head. It was the grossest ping” and “his hearing aid just exploded” as Terrel struck him from behind. Hope also said Rick continued the strikes with the bat as York laid on the ground. She also told investigators that Terrel drew the bat back as if he was going to strike her following her grandfather’s assault.
The report states the couple left York Sr. in the garage for the first night before wrapping his body up and moving it to the basement of the home. The couple cleaned up the garage with ammonia, bleach and painted over the blood spatter in the garage. Investigators located a dried pool of blood under the garage steps. Materials used to clean up the scene were taken to the Moraine dump, according to Earnshaw-York’s statements.
The bat was never recovered. Hope told investigators Terrel took the bat with him to buy heroin in Dayton after the incident.
Two days couple later, they rented a storage unit on Wagner Ford Road to hide the body. On June 2, the couple went to the storage unit and loaded the body in York’s truck. She said they bought more heroin in Dayton before heading south to dump the body off a bridge in Gunpowder Creek in Boone County, Ky.
After the couple were arrested at a Red Roof Inn off of Miller Lane on June 3, Terrel took investigators to the site where officials located the body floating in the creek in a red sleeping bag. The Boone County Coroner ruled York’s death a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head. York’s body was in an advance state of decomposition when it was recovered.
Earnshaw-York was approximately seven months pregnant at the time of the incident. She claimed she helped cleaned up the various scenes, but was unable to help move or dispose of the body. She also claimed she was frightened to call police due to Terrel’s violent behavior, fearing for her son’s and unborn child’s life as well as her own.
Family members reported the World War II veteran missing on May 30, 2015.
According to jail phone records, Earnshaw-York told family members, “Rick was going to kill me if I didn’t help clean it up, he was going to kill me, too, he killed him in front of me right there in the garage and I begged him to stop. I tried to stop it.”
Hope also told a family member while in jail, “Pop was helping me carry (her child’s) toys into the garage and Pop started nit picking at Rick, telling him he needed to get a job and when Pop turned his back and grabbed my arms to make a point, Rick freaked out and started hitting him with a bat, it was awful and it took forever for him to go.”
Terrel’s own statements to investigators conflicted with Hope’s account. Terrel also tried to implicate Hope, stating she was the one who killed her grandfather while he waited in the truck with her son.
During the sentencing hearing, Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell told the court Earnshaw-York refused to cooperate throughout the investigation, including with her own attorneys. Kendell said Earnshaw-York played “games” with prosecutors, stating “I’ll check my schedule” while she was incarcerated during the court proceedings.
Kendell said Earnshaw-York and Terrel exchanged a stack of letters during their incarceration, in which Kendell claims she pledged her love to Terrel, even after the plea agreement the state and defense reached last month with Terrel. Those letters were not part of the investigation file.
“On no uncertain terms, Terrel’s case ended up with respect to the outcomes lay largely on (Earnshaw-York’s) shoulders and her shoulders alone because of the games that were played throughout,”said Kendell during her sentencing hearing.
Kendell said Earnshaw-York repeatedly told the prosecutors, “It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s not going to bring Pop back,” and refused to cooperate to help bring her grandfather’s murder to justice.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews
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