ELYRIA — Michael Boyer was shaking and sobbing as he was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday for selling a lethal does of fentanyl that killed an Avon Lake man last year.
Prior to being sentenced, Boyer, 34, of Sheffield Lake, begged Judge Mark Betleski to allow him to change his plea and stand trial.
“I don’t want to go to prison today for something I didn’t do,” Boyer said. “I’m terrified. I’m terrified that I could go away from my children. Please allow me a chance for a fair trial.”
In January, Boyer pleaded guilty to an amended indictment that included charges of corrupting another with drugs, possession criminal tools, trafficking in drugs and possessing drug abuse instruments. A count of involuntary manslaughter was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Police said Boyer sold a fatal dose of fentanyl to 23-year-old Shawn Radeff, who was found dead in his Curtis Road home in Avon Lake last June.
Boyer told Betleski that he recently learned that his appointed defense attorney, Emmett Moran, has served as a visiting judge in the Avon Lake Municipal Court. Boyer’s case originally came through the Avon Lake court before being bound over to Lorain County Common Pleas Court, and Boyer said he felt it was a conflict of interest.
“Unless there’s evidence presented in this court that Mr. Moran, at sometime in the past, had been the acting judge in regard to your initial charges in regard in this matter and then continued in a separate responsibility as your legal counsel, it would be difficult for me to say he is ethically prohibited from representing you,” Betleski said prior to denying the motion.
Boyer also said Moran convinced him to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit by telling him that the judge would sentence him to more than 20 years in prison if he didn’t.
“I’ve been through hundreds of pages of reports with my client,” Moran said. “I sat down with him, highlighted it, gave him copies of everything and reviewed everything on several occasions. As to the
21-year time frame, I told him that’s what he was looking at … That’s not an inaccurate statement. That is absolutely correct. I said, ‘If you go to trial and lose, this is what the judge can do.’ ”
Betleski said he has dealt with Moran in his courtroom for nearly two decades and has never seen him do anything that wasn’t in his client’s best interest.
Assistant County Prosecutor T. Allan Regas said he feels the state had a very solid case against Boyer.
“What I heard (was), ‘I’m scared to go to prison today,’ ” Regas said. “That’s a change of heart. I think the evidence is what it is. We had a very strong case, and I gave everything we had in discovery.”
Betleski appeared to agree.
“It’s not uncommon that we do confront this issue,” Betleski said. “It doesn’t happen on a monthly basis, but it does come up probably two or three times a year. I’ll have a situation where an individual will have indicated an interest in entering a plea and then changing their position, quite often it’s in a situation where it’s mandatory time or a prison sentence is presumed.
“I’m comfortable that while you don’t like the decision that was rendered, and you may not like what I’m going to do as far as sentencing, the decision to enter the plea was done knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.”
The parents of Radeff addressed the court prior to Betleski sentencing Boyer.
“June 12, 2017, is a day that changed my life forever,” Radeff’s mother, Kelly Radeff, said. “My heart was forever broken. That day was the day Michael Boyer gave my son a lethal dose of fentanyl. (My son) had a big heart and cared about a lot of people. He loved nature, going to the lake boating and watching the sunset. He loved riding his motorcycle. He was loved and is missed by so many. You played a part in his death.”
Gregory Radeff, the victim’s father, referred to Boyer multiple times as a “worthless waste of skin.”
“I never get to see my son,” Gregory Radeff said. “His nieces and nephews never get to see him. He has a great-niece that was born that never did get to see him. (Boyer) is going to sit in prison for however much time. He’s going to have visitation rights. His children will be able to write him. He’ll be able to get pictures of his children. He’ll have opportunity to stay in contact with his family.
“I have none. There’s nothing I can do.”