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Cops and Courts

North Ridgeville murder trial: Police say defendant put knife in wife's hand

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    Ronald Svec, accused of murdering his wife in 2015, appears in court Friday at Lorain County Justice Center in Elyria.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Ronald Svec, accused of murdering his wife in 2015, appears in court for his trial at Lorain County Justice Center, June 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

  • Svec-trial-3-jpg

    Ronald Svec, accused of murdering his wife in 2015, appears in court with attorney Jenifer Berki. for his trial at Lorain County Justice Center, June 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Ronald Svec, accused of murdering his wife in 2015, looks at eviidence in court for his trial at Lorain County Justice Center, June 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

  • Svec-trial-5-jpg

    Ronald Svec, accused of murdering his wife in 2015, appears in court for his trial at Lorain County Justice Center, June 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Police believe Ronald Svec placed a knife in his wife’s hand after shooting her in the head to help corroborate his story about her trying to stab him before he shot her.

During the fourth day of testimony in the murder trial of Svec, 77, of North Ridgeville, the prosecution continued to play the recording of the interview of Svec conducted by North Ridgeville police the night of the incident.

Svec is accused of murdering his wife, Gloria Svec, 69, at their home at 5915 Jaycox Road on Nov. 6, 2015. Svec hasn’t denied shooting his wife, but has said he shot her in self-defense.

Gloria Svec was found lying in a pool of blood clutching a black-handled kitchen knife in the kitchen of the family’s home when police arrived at the scene. Ronald Svec was outside the home with a 4-year-old boy whom the Svecs had custody of at that time, police have testified.

Ronald Svec told police that Gloria Svec kept following him around the house poking a knife at him, which made him fear for his life. He said he pulled the gun out to scare his wife and then unintentionally shot her.

Police have questioned how Gloria Svec got the knife in her hand, though.

During testimony Friday, the commander of the North Ridgeville Police Detective Bureau, Lt. Greg Petek, testified Gloria Svec was left-handed, but the knife was in her right hand when police arrived. Petek said it also was puzzling why there wasn’t more blood on the knife when she was found since she was bleeding profusely and was covered in blood.

Gloria Svec was taken to St. John Medical Center in Westlake, where she later died.

Officers questioned Ronald Svec about the knife the night of the incident, saying that people usually don’t clutch things when they are shot, but instead reflexively release things. Ronald Svec told them he didn’t know why she still had it in her grasp, but he was telling them the truth.

Petek also testified that he didn’t believe Ronald Svec showed much emotion when he learned during the interview the night of the incident that Gloria Svec had died. He did tell police he was sorry she died.

Before he knew she had died, police asked Ronald Svec what he would do if she died.

“I’ll be very regretful for it,” Ronald Svec said. “We’ll meet in the great beyond. Maybe I can apologize to her. That’s all I can say. I should have shot myself at the same time.”

Ronald Svec also talked to police about his marriage with Gloria during the interview. During the trial it has been said the Svecs did not have a good relationship.

“I don’t have anyone. She’s got all her relatives — always go, go, go, go, go,” Ronald Svec said. “I have my train hobby, try to stay away and do that. She belittles me for that. I don’t go to bars, don’t get drunk or get in trouble. She belittles me for that. I don’t cut the grass right. I don’t pull the weeds right. ... When she came at me in the room, it just exploded.”

Ronald Svec told police he was most of sorry that the boy had to witness the shooting.

“I’m sorry that it happened. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “I don’t know how to undo it. There’s no way to undo it.”

During the first part of the interview, Svec maintained that he’d unintentionally shot his wife in the hallway of the home between their separate bedrooms. He said he pulled the trigger and the gun fired twice.

Later in the interview, though, police found a bullet and casing in the kitchen — 25 feet from the hallway — and confronted Ronald Svec on it. His story changed, saying that he must have fired again unintentionally.

Police asked him why he would follow his wife if he was in fear of his life. Ronald Svec told them he didn’t know what happened.

“I wasn’t in my right mind,” he said. “She snapped. I snapped.”

Testimony in the trial will resume 9 a.m. Monday.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 440-329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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