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Cops and Courts

Ronald Svec found guilty on all charges in wife's fatal shooting (UPDATED)

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    Lorain County Sheriff's deputies wait to take Ronald Svec from the courtroom after he was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for the murder of his wife. Svec is talking to his attorney Jenifer Berki Merrill.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Donna Freeman gets a hug from Susan Sandor, the niece of murder victim Gloria Svec, after Ronald Svec, Gloria's husband, was found guilty of the fatal shooting.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    Family members react to the verdict in the murder trial of Ronald Svec on Wednesday.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — The family of Gloria Svec couldn’t contain their emotions as they cried out in relief and hugged one another when a jury found her husband guilty on all counts in connection with her murder.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ronald Svec, 77, of North Ridgeville, was found guilty on both counts of murder and both counts of felonious assault, along with gun specifications that each carry a mandatory three-year sentence, for the death of Gloria, 69.

It took the jury less than three hours of deliberation to reach the verdict.

After the jury was dismissed, Judge James Miraldi sentenced Ronald Svec to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for at least 18 years.

There was never a question of whether Ronald Svec had shot his wife in the Jaycox Road home on Nov. 6, 2015, as he called 911 and told the dispatcher just that. He told police, and maintained throughout the trial, that the act had been in self-defense and Gloria Svec had tried to stab him with a knife.

The prosecution stated during the trial that it didn’t believe Gloria Svec had followed her husband around the house with a knife, as the defendant repeatedly stated. Instead, the state said Gloria Svec may have grabbed a steak knife and threw it at her husband as a last-ditch effort after he’d shot her once and came to finish the job.

Police also believe Ronald Svec planted a knife in his wife’s hand to help corroborate his story after he’d shot her in the head.

Gloria Svec’s daughters — Darlene and Andrea McCormick — addressed the court prior to Miraldi handing down the sentence.

“My mother was so much more than just half of this toxic relationship,” Darlene McCormick said. “She was a beautiful and loving mother that was ripped from our family. I miss her every single day.”

Andrea McCormick echoed her sister’s comments.

“Ron, you said it yourself: She had a ton of friends and family,” Andrea McCormick said. “You’re damn right; she sure did. All of us are going to remember her for the wonderful, beautiful person she was. We miss her.”

Darlene McCormick said the family didn’t get on the stand and speak to her mother’s character because they decided to let the evidence speak for Gloria Svec. She also said the couple didn’t get a divorce because Ronald Svec wouldn’t do it.

“Yes, it was a toxic relationship; it really was,” Darlene McCormick said. “They didn’t get out of it because he was worried about his stuff. He worked too hard; he said that in his own words. He wasn’t going to let my mother divorce him or divorce my mother because he didn’t want to give up his stuff — his trains.”

During the trial, it was said that the murder of Gloria Svec was witnessed by a 4-year-old boy of whom the Svecs had custody. The child had been eating pancakes at the kitchen table when he witnessed Ronald Svec shoot his wife in the head, he told police.

The Svecs took custody of the boy, who was the son of Gloria Svec’s adopted daughter. The boy returned to live with his mother after Gloria Svec’s murder.

“One thing I want you to go to bed at night and think when you lay your head down, because I don’t think you give a crap about her,” Andrea McCormick said. “If there was a little part of you that cared about (the 4-year-old boy), know that we haven’t seen him. His life has been turned upside down. He will have this trauma in his head forever, and it’s probably never going to go away. And that’s what you messed up, too.

“You didn’t just take the life of my mother; you took his life, too.”

Since all the counts Ronald Svec was found guilty on were allied offenses, they were all merged into one count of murder.

“I did not order a presentence investigation with this,” Miraldi said. “The reason is the sentencing and the responsibilities of the court are pretty much set up by the legislature, and it doesn’t involve really any discretion on my part.”

Ronald Svec was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison with an additional mandatory three-year sentence because of the gun specification on the count of murder.

Ronald Svec’s defense attorney Jenifer Berki Merrill said her client plans to appeal.

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


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